March 11, 2021

A call for a more festive annual celebration of Shevchenko


Dear Editor:

I have just finished reading a wonderful article by Alex Kuzma on Shevchenko. I understand that Ukrainians remember Shevchenko in a very serious and somber manner, but I have also spent time in Scotland and the Scots honor Robert Burns by having a dinner, a few drinks and reading Burns’ poetry (and listening to a tune on the bagpipes!). I wondered why Ukrainians could not have a night in March where we honor Shevchenko in a way that we can look forward to – eat some varenyky and kovbasa, have a drink and recite Shevchenko in Ukrainian and English (or in whatever country’s language the Ukrainian diaspora may be found). I’m not sure who the catalyst could be, but it’s something that could be started in Ukraine. I also did not look forward to those somber, almost depressing Shevchenko concerts that always had that funeral dirge “Як умру.” These were not fun at all, and I recall all of the children in their suits squirming to get out of the Ukrainian hall.

St. Catharines, Ontario