Culture reigns supreme at Lviv, Ukraine pavilion
By Jennifer Roberts
Kingston This Week
10 June 2011
Have you ever wanted to learn the culture or taste the cuisine of a distant country? Then Folklore is the place for you.
Experience the traditions, food, dance and more of different countries at this annual event that runs Friday, June 10 to Sunday, June 12 at Regopolis Notre Dame High School.
Now in its 42nd year, the Lviv, Ukraine pavilion is the last pavilion standing in what was a huge multi-cultural event that included dozens of cultural communities.
The Lviv Ukraine pavilion is a family friendly event with silent auctions, souvenirs, raffles, performances and live dancing on the hour with dancers ranging from children (Dorist dancers) to adults (Maky dancers) who take to the stage dressed in traditional garb.
Although the performances are a major draw, Folklore is arguably best known for its outstanding homemade cuisine.
“My mother Maria Luciuk and the ladies in the kitchen have spent the past several weeks preparing food,” says Lubomyr Luciuk, President of the Ukrainian Club of Kingston. “They’ve done 5,000 perogies, several hundred Ukrainian meat sticks, several thousand cabbage rolls, among other things. You can go there and get homemade cooking and a beer for under $10. It’s all homemade and fresh and keeps people coming back.”
Passports for the event are $5 and are good for the entire weekend. They are available at the door and at various locations around downtown Kingston.
“This is really a cultural weekend, oriented on the family,” says Luciuk. “Children under 12 are free so a mother and father can come with their children and for $10 can have great food and entertainment.”
Folklore was started 42 years ago, when the Ukraine was still a part of the Soviet Union. For people such as Luciuk’s family, it was a way of broadcasting a message of hope and their struggle for freedom, along with their pride, culture, history and language to a Canadian audience.
Over the years it has become harder for some cultural groups, many of which are volunteer run, to maintain the numbers of their communities, with generations getting older and younger persons going on to get married and move away. But cultural pride has a way of overcoming, and throughout the years Folklore has found that many people now participating are of mixed cultures.
“In the 42 years of Folklore I’ve seen the dancing group, which is the core around which our community has structured itself, change from being largely Ukrainian to largely non-Ukrainian,” says Luciuk. “Some of the kids that were there [dancing] with me grew up in the dance group, married other dancers and now have their children in it. It’s the sense of community. It’s the sense of place and wanting to share one’s culture, customs and cuisine with others.”
This sense of belonging, says Luciuk, shows that Kingston is a multicultural and inclusive society and that it has welcomed Ukrainians and many others from Eastern and Central European over the decades and given them a good home.
“Kingston gave them shelter, asylum and opportunity,” he says. “And we’ve taken it and run with it and we’ve done very well. It’s because Canada is the kind of welcoming, free society where entrepreneurial zeal and hard work and endurance pay off.
“The Ukrainian pavilion started off as way of messaging our desire for a free Ukraine and transformed itself after 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union, into a cause for culture, heritage, language and religion. It’s our ability to contribute to Canada and to share with other Canadians who we are.”