Ukrainian People

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Have you ever wondered who the Ukrainian People are and how they live? I cannot fully answer this question, but I can give a small insight into the fascinating world of the Ukraineinfo-icon.

For most of us, life seems to attack us on all fronts—physically, mentally, emotionally—despite all the twists and turns that fall upon our shoulders our innate human instinct of survival of the fittest seems to take hold and propel us to handle and make it through even the most crushing of experiences. For me personally, this is never more event on display than in my travels within the wonderfully, chaotic country of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian People—Harden for All the Right Reasons

Ukraine has a very tragic and even painful history that has made its people the way they are today. I’ve spent some time in the Ukraine and I noticed quite a bit about the culture and nature of the Ukrainian people. For starters, the Ukrainian people are rather competitive—that doesn’t extend just to sports, but rather to anybody—stranger or family, their competitive spirt is always aggressive in nature. Not necessary animalistic or even brute-like, but rather the innate “survival of the fittest” response. Rightly so, Ukraine has a destructive history that has left quite a scar upon this proud, ever changing country.

The Ukrainian people have been left with focusing strongly on doing whatever it takes for themselves to survive—even if that means letting their neighbors in the dust. However, tragedy and change plays much more of an impact on how people handle life than most people acknowledge. These people may have a stern, callus nature but deep to their core these people truly have passion, empathy, and care for all people. Even with a past so tragic, the Ukrainian people also have a past of doing the right thing, the heroic thing. During WWII Ukraine protected thousands of Jewish immigrants fighting for their lives dodging the German army and capture. They saved all those people—most, if not all, from death at the hands of the Germanyinfo-icon concentration camps.

How can people who stick their necks out for those who truly need it be so bad? Truth is, they aren’t. I realized that first impressions aren’t necessarily the defining answer of who a person is, or how a countries people are. Their past, present, and future, all have the makings of a tragic tale. If you ask me, the Ukrainian people are like a good brownie; hard on the outside, gooey in the inside.  

From Nature, Food, and Culture—Ukraine is Quite Unique

Ukraine is utterly huge in size—the largest country in all of Europeinfo-icon, with over 30% of it being uninhabitable thanks to nuclear fallout from Chernobyl. Despite all that, Ukraine has 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to boast; which is one of the highest totals in all the world.

With its 46+ million citizens, Ukraine boost a rather proud and dubious honor of being named by the World Health Organization(WHO) #6 in the world for Alcohol Consumption (over 13.9 liter per capita/year).

In addition to their rather “thirsty” culture, the Ukrainian people are very in tuned to their folk culture, superstitions (rumor of witches have meeting grounds here), and food. The food always stands out to me no matter where you go. Lviv had some of the most delicious chocolate in the world, although not as good as Switzerlandinfo-icon’s (my home country). Ukrainian people also LOVE their McDonald’s; in Kiev, they have the third busiest McDonald’s in the world, according to McDonald’s themselves.

Also, Lvivsky Plyatski, a renown bakery originally from Lviv (and Kiev), has strudel that was so moist and packed with flavor that I could have sat there all day and ate one after the other until I either ran out of money or they called the police.

Ukrainian culture is something that isn’t so different from other countries throughout the world. There’s a dramatic gap from the wealthy and poor, so much so that even the middle class down to the poorer of the poor all tend to grow their own foods just to scrape by. The country is notorious for their old-school belief system that men are superior to women, and a women’s true place is at home not at work (married people here wear wedding rings on right hand too); Causing a severe difference in equality among the sexes. Although education quality is subpar at best, the women of Ukraine has been highly regarded as some of the best beautiful in the world.

The Ukrainian people though know how to have fun! Ukraine’s traditions and celebrations, such as Ivan Kupala Day, is one of the most fun and entertaining in the world. Boys and girls alike take part in the purification ritual by jumping hand in hand over fire without letting go to signal that their love will last a lifetime. Also, Easter in Ukraine has a whole different twist. With most of the world decorating their eggs in dyes and such, Ukraine has stepped it up to an artform by using a combination of waxes (pysankas) and dyes to make intricate and impressive patterns of colors—making their creation look fake or made of wood.

The Sights, Sounds, and Feels of Ukrainian Travel    

When in Ukraine you will get to see things quite extraordinary. Cities like: Kiev, Lviv, Chernobyl, Barkhchysaray, have unimaginable sights. Kiev, the capital city, can stun you with its classical architecture. From its modern marvel buildings, to its historical buildings like St. Sophia’s Cathedral, transporting you to back nearly 400 years into history. Main street Kiev itself is a modern and historical marvel. Destroyed 4 times (and rebuilt), Main Street is one of Europe longest and widest streets and calls home to thousands of buildings, homes, and stores. Also, in Ukrainian mythology Kiev has been the alleged meeting spot for witches (3 spots across the city). I’d like to see Hogwarts compete with that!

Ukrainian Travel 
Ukrainian-Travel 

You can always test your bravery out and take a tour of Pripyat—a city devastated by the nuclear fallout of Chernobyl that has been deserted and left creepily still from the mid 1980’s. The nuclear reactors leak back in the 1980’s was catastrophic, and has made much of the country’s land uninhabitable. However, tours are done routinely to this site - at your own risk, as the area still has high levels of radiation. The original remnants of the facility and its own town is something out of this world. Just my presence there raised the hairs on my neck—spooky, dark, melancholy, but a hauntingly unbelievable experience nonetheless.

However, sight’s were you may not want to risk health issues—like the amazing coastal beaches of the Baltic Sea (over 300 miles of coast), the majestic rolling hills of the Carpathian Landscapes, Chufut-Kal (Bakhchisaray), and Khan’s Place (Bakhchisaray) are more for you.

Summing it All Up, all about the Ukraine

Ukraine and the Ukraine people in many ways are one in the same. Their history has sculpted them into they way they are today. A brooding, callus nature has been the social norm here for some time. Despite all that they may show on the outside, the Ukrainian people are softies on the inside. They do care, they can be friendly, and may even crack a smile now and again. The past for some is hard to get over, and coupled with the extremes of the economic levels Ukraine has become a country set on surviving, at any cost. So, the people aren’t going to be your best friend here, but if you’re truly looking to get a memorable and exciting experience, Ukraine just might be perfect for you.

 

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