February is approaching March, and this means the time for us to traditionally start eating pancakes, celebrating the end of winter and beginning of spring. Children have itchy feet during this time, seeking to discover something new and interesting, which makes grown-ups keep moving and finding those discoveries for them.
On 17 February 2018, young inmates of Communal Institution Puhachiv Psychoneurological Treatment and Residential Care Center were offered an opportunity by United World Cultures Foundation and volunteers of detdom.info to immerse themselves into the magical atmosphere of the center of Ancient Rus culture and history – Kyivan Rus Park, which hosted a large scale celebration of the oldest surviving Slavic religious and folk holiday Maslenitsa in Ukraine.
The facility’s inmates who are mostly girls really love travelling so once a quarter UWCF and volunteers of detdom.info do our best to open up a new beautiful and exciting place and organize an amazing journey for these little princesses. Upon arrival at Kyivan Rus Park located in Kopachiv village of Obukhiv District in Kyiv Region, we received a hospitable welcome with bread and salt right at the park’s entrance gate. A nice girl wearing an ancient costume offered us a treat of pieces of a round traditional loaf. Meeting guests with bread and salt means showing respect to newly arrived people for what they are and respecting them as they are.
Our excursion started with a look around the area of the complex. Thus travelling as if with a time machine throughout the center of Ancient Rus culture and history, young inmates, as well as accompanying personnel of the residential care facility and volunteers, had an opportunity to learn about historically interesting and important moments, exploring and discovering new pages in the history of the Kyivan Rus Empire.
For example, the girls visited a medieval costume museum in the embassy compound at Yaroslav’s yard. Among its exhibits, the museum had clothes of a typical Kyivan city resident and prince, Scandinavian costumes, accoutrements of German, Spartan, Roman and Mongolo-Tatar warriors, Scythian costumes, etc. The young visitors felt so interested and excited that they were allowed to touch some of the exhibits and indeed the girls had never seen such big dolls (dummies) before...
In the city’s outskirts there is a reproduction of a tilting yard (place for holding medieval tournaments) and stands for guests. That was the venue to host the Maslenitsa celebration in accordance with ancient traditions and customs. Only in Ancient Kyiv, the young inmates of the residential care facility and all guests could see setting on fire the largest Maslenitsa effigy in Ukraine with fire arrows.
During celebrations, the event’s guests and participants were greeted by Volodymyr Yanchenko, President of Kyivan Rus Park. At parting, our girls were invited to attend the celebration of another folk holiday, the Kupala Night.
The girls enjoyed both watching the performances of the park’s artists and participating in folk entertainments such as circle dances and games. In the tavern Veselyi Varyag (“Joyful Varangian”) they tasted various dishes – borsch, dried fruit drink and plenty of pancakes, and received wonderful treats from volunteers for the return journey.
Feeling exhilarated by the unforgettable experience they had in the center of Ancient Rus culture and history, the children and their caregivers went home. We were utterly impressed by people there – kind, open-hearted, friendly and, most importantly, proud of their achievements. Keep up the good work, Kyivan Rus Park! We wish you all the good things and prosperity, and thank you for your warm welcome.
We would like to say a big thank-you to Volodymyr Yanchenko, President of Kyivan Rus Park, and to International Charitable Organization Kryla (“Wings”) Volunteer Association, for helping the young inmates of Puhachiv Psychoneurological Treatment and Residential Care Center, located in Berezneve village of Korosten District in Zhytomyr Region, to make a free visit to Kyivan Rus Park.
New impressions, acquaintances, a huge share of interesting information will be definitely useful for the girls from the Psychoneurological Treatment and Residential Care Center.