Monday, December 31, 2012

Orysia's McNally Robinson Classes

Two more classes to go -- one on traditional foods (in two parts)

and a repeat -- "by popular demand" -- of the folk medicine one -- the new date is March 18, 7-9 P.M.

Register early.



Have you ever wondered about your baba’s and dido’s family back in Ukraine?  Is there anyone left after a century or more?  Where did they live?  What did their village look like?  Is Ukraine different now?
The answer to the last question is “yes” and “no.”  Your ancestral homeland is very modern, and yet quite traditional.  You will see both.  If you have no relatives there anymore, or are not Ukrainian, and just want to see and experience a beautiful part of the world, come along with me!
Join me on a specialized tour of Ukraine like no other.  We see people and places that will remain in your memories for a long time.  The scenery, the history, the culture, the people, the food, the drink, the art and architecture, the serendipity – all blend into a memorable journey.
If you’re interested in having family, extended family and friends go on “your” tour, we can customize it.  Not only will you see the highlights of Ukraine, but you will visit your ancestral villages and towns, meet relatives or people who remember them, and celebrate your ancestry.  If you want to join me on a regular tour, where we can visit your villages, that can be arranged.  And if you’re not Ukrainian, that’s fine, too – join us and become part of the family!
This will be my 15th tour.  I have led folk art and culture tours to Ukraine almost every summer.  The folks who travelled with me are from all across North America, from the Northwest Territories to Florida and Iowa, and from California to Rhode Island and Nova Scotia.  Then there are the ones from Japan and Australia!  Now we are all friends, and I am blessed to have met and traveled with them.   We're off from August 22 to Sept. 8, 2013.  Enough time to plan.

Have added some photos --  urban and rural.  What a beautiful place!   More to follow.

The number in the tour is limited, so folks need to sign up with Martha Banias as soon as they can.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


With the first day of Christmas yesterday, two more to come (in Ukrainian tradition, it's three days of Christmas), I'm sharing some of my articles on Ukrainian Christmas traditions.  These I have written over many years, for The Ukrainian Weekly, an award-winning international English-language Ukrainian newspaper from New Jersey, edited by Roma Hadzevych.

Also, here is a YouTube (in four parts, so click on all of them) of my presentation about Christmas traditions at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) a few years ago.   

This coming year I hope to do what I've been planning for a long time -- and have been encouraged by my dear faithful readers to do:  I will be compiling my Christmas articles into a book.  Later, will do the same with articles on other topics.  It's mindboggling to think of how many of my articles are actually out there!

For starters, here are a few on some esoteric aspects of Ukrainian Christmas traditions.

I do look forward to hearing from you!


Traditional Ukrainian Christmas Greetings

На щастя, на здоровя з колядою,
Щоб Ви тішилися як пташка весною,
Як пташка на калині,
Дай, Боже, щастя Вашій родині!

Доброго здоровя, багато щастя,
Чистої води в криниці,
У полі ярої пшениці,
Хліба й солі на столі,
І погоди на душі!

Христос ся Раждає!

May you find peace, joy, and health for yourself, your family, your children, and your farm animals;
May you be as healthy as the spring waters,
May you be as cheerful as the swallows in the sky,
May your home never be hungry,
And may it be as prosperous as the fields of grain at harvest time,
And as full as the beehives are with honey,
And the orchards are ripe with fruit.
We wish you all this, and may we come together next year to greet and wish each other again.
Khrystos Rodyvsia!  Christ is Born!
Slavimo Yoho!  Let us praise Him!

[the title of the Weekly article should be "Vinchuyu Vas" , not "..Vam"]

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Хвали мене язичку......   Self-promotion is so necessary, eh?   If no one tells you, how will you know?  ;-}

I'm so proud that my translation of this Pinzel fine art book is at the Louvre for the exhibition.  I completed the translation by the end of July, and only at the end of September, when I was in Kyiv, did I learn that this volume will be on its way to Paris in November!   Still have not received it, but have seen the photos.   

So, that's my latest news.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


We have the dates for 2013, folks!    Aug. 22-Sept. 8

Please check with Martha Banias at:

And if you have any questions, please contact me.

Some photos from Khotyn, a very old fortress on the Dnister River: