Every country has its own national flower. For Ukraine, it is the beautiful blooming sunflower.
Recently, a video showing a Ukrainian woman handing over sunflower seeds to a Russian soldier went viral. It gathered millions of shares and likes. Considering the grim situation in the country, this exchange exhibited hope!
Amid the growing conflicts between Ukraine and Russia, the sunflower has become a symbol of hope and resistance. Here is everything to know about how sunflower has become a significant part of their culture.
Ukraine and the Significance of Sunflower
You may see many sunflower gardens all over Europe. But do you know sunflowers did not originate in the continent? Originally, they were cultivated in North America around 3000 BC and later brought to the Eastern European continent.
The bright yellow sunny plant became the favorite of the people of Ukraine. As the country entertained a hot climate, many people started growing sunflowers in their gardens and fields. Sunflower also became deeply embedded into its culture when the Church did not ban its oil during Lent.
If you are unaware, Ukrainian Orthodox Great Lent is a time of abstinence and self-denial from all poultry, meat, and byproducts. The Ukrainians practice it religiously.
Since then, the existence of sunflower has become an essential aspect of the daily life and diet of the locals. While visiting this country, you will spot many blooming sunflowers in its various parts. Sunflowers are found in the yards of village houses and fields.
Ukrainian women also use this flower in their costumes and dresses they wear during celebrations.
Sunflower – A Symbol of Resistance
When the woman handed sunflower seeds to the Russian soldiers, she said, “Take these seeds, so sunflowers grow when you die here.” This particular statement also made the national flower of Ukraine their symbol of resistance in this ongoing war. Protestors are often seen carrying bouquets of sunflowers or wearing sunflowers at rallies.
Not only this, but the outsiders are also supporting this stance by sharing the emojis of sunflowers or displaying sunflowers as their display photo.
The significance of sunflowers in Ukraine is also observed in many instances. These flowers are worshiped since the time of pre-Christian Slavs. According to the locals, sunflower represents warmth and the power of the sun. This flower is also a symbol of well-being and energy. The Western world looks upon the sunflower as the symbol of life, energy, and well-being, but for Ukraine, the sunflower also stands for unity and fertility.
Sunflowers are touted as happy flowers by the Ukrainians. They bring joy and elevate one’s mood. The locals often get these beautiful flowers embroidered on their fabrics, especially females and kids. They are also carved on wooden furniture and household items. Not only this but sunflowers are also painted on the walls.
The dresses embellished in sunflowers do not merely have a decorative meaning. They were once used to protect the wearer against bad fortune, evil spirits, and illness. You will also spot the mention of sunflowers in Ukrainian poetry, songs, and art.
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