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Pagan Influence in the Culture of Ukraine - Essay Example

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 This essay seeks to shed a degree of light on the nation of Ukraine and the key ways in which the culture of Ukraine is substantially different than that which is exhibited within the US. The culture of the US was initially made up of a large number of Western European immigrants…
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Pagan Influence in the Culture of Ukraine
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Pagan Influence in the Culture of Ukraine
Although one might seem to believe that most if not all European cultures and nations represent a very similar unifying culture as compared with the United States, this is in fact not quite the case. Although it is true that the culture of the United States was initially made up of a large number of Western European immigrants, there is far more to the continent of Europe than merely Western Europe and far more to the cultures that are exhibited within Europe than merely France, the United Kingdom, and Germany etc. As a function of this, this brief speech will seek to shed a degree of light on the nation of Ukraine and the key ways in which the culture of Ukraine is substantially different than that which is exhibited within the United States. Although this construct may come as something of a shock to many, the different methods whereby Ukraine and the influences that have acted upon as compared to the United States ultimately make for a very distinct culture (Schulman 1998).
The first determinant of this is the level to which paganism plays into the fabric of society. True, the nation itself has been “Christian” since the time of Prince Vladimir the Great (circa 988 AD), the long history of the people and the subsequent invasions from the East, including Mongols, Tatars, Khazars, and a litany of other peoples from the steppes of Central Asia meant that a great deal of diverse pagan beliefs were interjected into the culture of the nation as a function of the various tribes and kingdoms that spent time ruling over Ukraine (Holmes 2007). This level of paganism is exhibited in a litany of different ways within the culture; one of these being the celebration of the holiday “Ivana Kupala” which celebrates the life force of the rivers, lakes, and streams and continues to be celebrated throughout Ukraine and many other Eastern European countries (Culture and Arts 2009).
Similar winter solstice activities have also engrained themselves into the culture as dances around the base of fir trees, harvest celebrations, days for the dead, and a litany of other pagan holidays and references pervade the culture in ways that would not necessarily be the case in the United States. There are of course a number of superstitions that continue to pervade the culture as well. An example of this includes the belief that whistling indoors means that the individual will soon have no money. As a way of understanding these pagan influences, one can seek to realize that they have developed as a function of the many different groups that have ruled over Ukraine for the past 1000 years (Hanson 2012). In such a way, a veritable melting pot of cultural aspects that draw their influences from Judaism, Islam, a litany of pagan religions, and Christianity have all coalesced to present a unique cultural understanding that ultimately can be traced back to the core components that it has derived itself from.
References
Culture and Arts. (2009). Ukraine Country Review, 105-113.
Hansen, I. (2012). The end of the Euro and the start of Europe in Ukraine. ICPS Newsletter, 515(11), 2.
Holmes, M. (2007). Culture without the State? Reinvigorating Ukrainian Culture with Diasporic Efforts. Review Of Policy Research, 24(2), 133-154. doi:10.1111/j.1541-1338.2007.00273.x
Shulman, S. (1998). Cultures in competition: Ukrainian foreign policy and the `cultural threat' from abroad. Europe-Asia Studies, 50(2), 287. Read More
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