Threads of Tradition: Exploring Ukrainian Embroidery and Vyshyvanka Day.

Threads of Tradition: Exploring Ukrainian Embroidery and Vyshyvanka Day.

The embroidered shirt is not only a special element of festive national attire but also an important part of Ukrainian culture. Therefore, every Ukrainian should know about the existence of such an event as Embroidery Day.


According to historians and archaeologists, certain elements of embroidery existed even on the clothing of the Scythians who inhabited the territory of modern Ukraine before our era. During the time of Kyivan Rus’, people also wore embroidered clothing, and mentions of the special attire of Rusyns can be found in the records of many travelers.

Throughout the ages, the Ukrainian people have cherished their love for embroidery and preserved the special traditions of its creation. Each region of Ukraine can boast its unique customs associated with national ornamentation on clothing.


During the excavations of the Sokolova Mohyla burial mound located in Mykolaiv Oblast, the burial of a Sarmatian priestess was found, along with a fragment of silk fabric adorned with golden embroidery. This special find dates back to the 1st century BC.

Speaking of motifs found in Ukrainian embroidery, geometric patterns are considered the oldest: various diamonds, zigzags, circles, wavy lines, meanders, dots, and so on. At the same time, embroidery techniques such as straight stitch and “retiaz” (a type of cross-stitch) were used. The latter was particularly popular in the western part of modern Ukraine.


The 19th century marked a turning point in the history of embroidery. It was then that the profession of embroiderer emerged. They were commissioned to embroider shirts for the whole family. Now there was no need to decorate clothing oneself, as everything was done by skilled embroiderers. Ivan Franko popularized the embroidered shirt among the Ukrainian intelligentsia. He was the first to boldly combine an embroidered shirt with a business jacket.

In 2006, a special holiday was introduced in Ukraine - Vyshyvanka Day. The initiative to create it was taken by Lesya Voronyuk, who at the time was a student at the historical faculty of Chernivtsi National University. The girl suggested to her classmates to choose a day and come to lectures in national attire. This idea was supported not only by students but also by professors. Over the years, the tradition has become popular throughout Ukraine. The date always falls on the third Thursday of May.

In 2024, it will be on May 16th.



Embroidery Day holds special significance in 2024 - a time when Russia continues its full-scale war against Ukraine. Wearing an embroidered shirt on May 16th will be a symbol of the unyielding Ukrainian spirit, a statement to the world that Ukrainians are a free people.

Embroidery Day is an event aimed at preserving Ukrainian traditions and passing them on to the next generation.

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