With an unprovoked war raging in Ukraine, while the over a million Ukrainian Americans watch and worry about their relatives, we can see yet again how deeply the world's troubles affect our friends, families and neighbors. There are now over 4 million Ukrainians who have become homeless fleeing the violence, with most now living as refugees in their own or nearby countries. Though most are likely to eventually return home or settle in Europe, up to 100,000 may come here. Already many Americans are organizing to welcome and host the newcomers or to send them aid abroad.
This is also a perfect time to get to know a culture which has enriched our own almost since our nation's beginning. Ukrainian American communities can be found in many U.S. cities, such as New York (160,000), Philadelphia (60,000), Chicago (46,000), Detroit (45,000), Los Angeles (36,000), Cleveland (26,000), and Indianapolis (16,000). Today's Ukrainian American festivals have an added purpose and poignancy, as many are now raising funds to send to Ukraine, while also encouraging the local community. At the same time, they remain a compelling -- and, yes, fun -- way for visitors to get to know this rich, lively culture.
Ukrainian Easter eggs, or Pysanky, are a famous folk art dating to the
1st century A.D., with designs representing different regions of the Ukraine. Their delicate patterns are inscribed with a special wax and dye technique, after first removing the inner egg so the shell can be saved. You can support Ukrainian relief through the Pysanky for Peace Project, and/or try making some yourself!