GRAEME BRUCE / BRANDON SUN
Mariya Gavadzyn (left) and Angela Pasakas kick off the Ukrainian Independence Day celebrations at Dinsdale Park on Saturday by offering traditional bread. The event marked the first for the newly-established Ukrainian-Canadian Association "Tryzub."
A group of newcomers to Canada wants to re-energize the Ukrainian culture in Brandon.
The Ukrainian-Canadian Association "Tryzub" (Ukrainian for trident, the nation’s coat of arms), hosted its first event on Saturday since its establishment in May by celebrating the eastern European nation’s Independence Day.
While anyone is welcome to join the association, its main focus is on newcomers, first-generation Ukrainians to add something new to traditional local celebrations.
"We were born in the Ukraine, we want to share that," said vice-president Julia Krykabsaa.
Many members of Brandon’s Ukrainian community were born in Canada and only know of their home country through family stories.
And local groups like the Ukrainian Reading Hall Association, have seen dwindling membership largely due to the younger population flocking to larger city centres.
"We want to share our culture, share our traditions and we want to continue," Krykabsaa said.
At Dinsdale Park on Saturday, the yellow and blue flags waved proudly in the wind and some 200 people — many of whom were sporting traditional clothes — enjoyed the sights, sounds and smells of home. Traditional food, dancing, a concert and games filled the park on the humid summer evening.
"It’s just about getting together, while celebrating our independence day."
Many Ukrainians in the area share Krykabsaa’s story, who came here five years ago with her husband and works at the Maple Leaf Foods plant.
"It’s a hard thing for us, that’s why we like to get together."
The group of 40 members has lofty plans, including Ukrainian seminars or after-school programs for the children to keep close ties with their history, promote the importance of the spiritual life, non-materialistic values and healthy living.
"It’ll be a fun school for kids where they can come for Sundays or three times a month," Krykabsaa said. "We want to make it fun, because kids may be having a hard time at school as well, it’s such a lot of work for them, switching countries and switching languages, so we want to make them feel more comfortable, but still keeping our tradition alive."
For many, Krykabsaa said in her opening speech, Canada is a second Motherland.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 26, 2013