Cultural Night: Ukraine


Sean Lee

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

University of North Dakota


Usually, a nation featured at Cultural Night at The University of North Dakota is at least a few centuries old. This is not the case for the Ukraine, which will celebrate its 20th “birthday” in just a few weeks.

“We are such a young nation,” said Svitlana Sytnyk. Onstage, the UND transfer student gave a compelling presentation on the wonders of Ukrainian lifestyle. “Our independence [from the Soviet Union] is when we appeared on the map.”

Still, the term “young” is misleading. The Ukraine is one of the most culturally rich and prosperous nations in Eastern Europe, boasting the second-largest landmass on the European continent (after Russia.)

Ukrainian tradition is rich in symbolism and folklore. The blue-over-yellow flag, for example, represents a blue sky over golden field of wheat. “Bread is the most important food for us,” said Sytnyk. “We love to eat. Most our food is grown ourselves and is all organic.”

Svitlana is attending UND for only one year. In that short time span, she’s learned a lot about North Dakota and our way of life. “Everything is different here,” she said. “I have a feeling that it’s a lot easier to live in the U.S.” Things are simply more “convenient,” she added.

As for the food of the Midwest: “it’s different,” Sytnyk smirked.

In true Ukrainian fashion, Svitlana invited the audience to take part in a feast, featuring traditional food of her homeland.

On the menu:

  • Borshch: a traditional Ukrainian vegetable soup with chicken. Served with sour cream and parsley, the soup was not unlike most tomato-based soups (though it is often served with beets for taste and color effect.)
  • Varenyky or pierogi: stuffed, boiled dumpling. These pierogi can either be served as an entree (savory) or as a desert (sweet) by stuffing them with a variety of meats and fruit (including potatoes, cheese, cherry or fish).
  • Berry pie: a traditional slice of pie prepared with fresh fruit.

“I loved the soup,” one UND student said. “With a little sour cream, things tasted wonderful.”

UND will conclude with Eritrea as its final Cultural Night on Thursday (April 28.) The event will take place at the Loading Dock, located at the Memorial Union. Admission is free and authentic cuisine costs just $1.