Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I advise everyone to check out this website:
The kids in the picture above are twin brothers. The normal looking one is deaf.
The other has hydrocephalus. This is just one example of the thousands who
have defects or cancer as a result of the distaster.
From this research, I was alarmed at the number of people who developed health
problems with their thyroids. Genetic mutations seem to be common in areas that
were contaminated. What's worse is that people did not know at first what areas, such as rivers, they should not use. I have developed a better understanding as to why this is
considered the world's worst nuclear disaster ever. I really do hope that more can be done to help these types of people and that no further damage comes from this tragedy.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Sadly I missed the field trip and like all of you have been caught up in all the finals, and just found time to do an extra post. But, seeing as how many posts have "beat me to it" on this topic and are similar to one another, I think I'll try to tinker around with something no one has covered yet.
For the vast majority of Ukrainian history, its people – the Slavs – have been pagan (worshiping a multitude of divine beings). Over the long period of time prior to Christianity’s adoption, the Rus’ (former name for Ukraine) had developed a strong culture, tied into their religious beliefs. In 988 C.E., when Prince Vladimir of Kiev baptized the Rus’, thereby denouncing paganism and officially adopting Christianity. However, he was only able to weaken polytheism’s grip on the Ukraine. The remnants of it still persist to the present day.
There are numerous examples of paganism’s presence in today’s Ukraine. Many such examples are the multitude of traditions practiced in conjunction with various Christian holidays. One such holiday is Ivana Kupala, which is supposed to be a celebration of John the Baptist. However many Ukrainians celebrating this holiday practice pagan pleasures such as jumping over a burning fire with a partner to purge the soul. These practices are part of its past. This tradition shows an attempt of an early way of Ukrainians to retain their rich and ancient religious culture.
One other such famous “textbook example” is the ancient ritual of pysanka or what is presently known as Easter egg decoration. As before, the sun, along with other major parts of nature, was given extreme respect. Eggs were painted with symbolic plants, animals and other living and non-living beings and were used in sun worship celebrations and later kept as juju’s. However, just as in Ivana Kupala, pysanky and its many symbols were blended with the Christian holiday Easter.
Growing up in Cleveland, I have often heard the saying that it is a “Melting Pot.” This brought me to wonder if any Ukrainians were involved in creating this melting pot, and I was very excited when I found out that they were.
Cleveland’s Polish immigrants began their immigration in the mid-19th century. They settled with the Czechs in what we now call Newburgh Heights and Slavic Village, in the area that was surrounding the Cuyahoga Valley. The St. Stanislaus Church was founded in 1888, and was a great influence on the community. Polish is still the language spoken in Slavic Village, as the people who live there celebrate their heritage each May Day and have a Harvest Festival in August.
The first Ukrainian immigrants to arrive in Cleveland arrived in the mid-1870s. The majority settled in the Tremont neighborhood. More recent immigrants have created a Ukrainian commune in Parma, which is to the south of Cleveland. This community has Ukrainian newspapers, radio programs, and a museum: The Ukrainian Museum on Kenilworth in Tremont. Since I missed the field trip, I think visiting this museum in the heart of a Ukrainian area would be a great opportunity. Churches in the area, such as Sts. Peter and Paul in Tremont as well as St. Josaphat in Parma hold services in Ukrainian.
Upon their arrival, the Ukrainian community life in Cleveland revolved solely around the church and fraternal unions. The largest of these organizations is the Ukrainian National Association, which began in 1902. They held their 100th convention in Cleveland, and presently have 14 branches. The community is clearly developing over time.
I found it thrilling that after learning so much about Ukraine this semester, I was fortunate enough to learn that Ukrainian-Americans first settled in the city that I grew up in the 1880s.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
According the United States census of 1990, there were 750,000 individuals of Ukrainian descent living in America, but many people believe that the number today is closer to one, or even two million. Originally, the Ukrainian population was largely centered around major industrial cities, but today they are spread out all over the country. One of the largest single concentrations of Ukrainians living in the United States is now in the Chicago Metropolitan area, with close to 50,000 residents consider themselves to be of Ukrainian descent.
Originally the Ukrainian population in the Chicago Metropolitan area was mainly limited to West Town. Now there are significant concentrations in Cook, DuPage, and Lake Counties. In the Chicago area there is the Ukrainian National Museum as well as the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art. Chicago is often the site of many visits from touring groups from Ukraine, and new immigrants are making their homes their every day.
To learn more follow these links: