What does the symbolism of ornaments in Ukrainian embroidery mean?

What does the symbolism of ornaments in Ukrainian embroidery mean?

Since ancient times, people often put on clothing a variety of symbols and signs that performed not only decorative, but also a protective function. Each value of the ornament was regulated and passed from generation to generation, thanks to which we know the symbolism of the Ukrainian embroidery (vishivanka). An example is the embroidered roosters and doves, which were applied to wedding towels, symbolizing the newlyweds. All the symbols of Ukrainian embroidery can be divided into two main categories - plant and geometric. Let's try to consider these ornaments and their meanings.

The floral ornaments value

Entering the request “Traditional Ukrainian clothing” on the Internet in English, you will be surprised how many different floral ornaments can be applied to Ukrainian embroidery, here you can find roses, bunches of grapes, poppies, snow-white lilies, hops and other symbols of Ukrainian embroidery. Let's try to figure out the meaning of the main ornaments.

Rose is an ancient motif that is associated with the continuity of the movement of the sun and renewal. Bunches of grapes are a symbol of family well-being and joy. Ornament in the form of grapes acts as a life field, where the feminine and masculine principles are combined.

The true classics are red poppies, which from ancient times protected our ancestors from failure and the evil forces. That is why on the shirts, you can often see the embroidered delicate and fragile red flowers. Moreover, the poppy has always personified people's memory, love and sorrow for dead people.

Another popular option is a snow-white lily, which acts as a sign of purity and innocence. Cases are quite common when the image of a lily is complemented by a cross blessing the newlyweds on creating a new family.

Embroidered viburnum, oak and hops belong to youthful and girlish symbolism, because these patterns are able to harmoniously combine immortal and magical beauty and strength. In ancient times, oak was considered a sacred tree, and viburnum is a real symbol of the entire Ukrainian people.

The value of geometric ornaments

Among the most common geometric ornaments, the following signs are found:

  • Sun, Water and Earth;
  • Stars;
  • Crossed rhombus;
  • Wavy lines, etc.

The value of the ornament in the form of the Sun, Water and Earth acts as a life trinity, which is often supplemented by symbols that indicate the fertility of the sown land, warmed by the sun. Stars are associated with harmony, orderliness and stability.

The image of ornaments in the form of a rhombus can symbolize fertile land and fields. Wavy lines are signs of water and ponds. In addition, circles of various sizes can be used, which are associated with the harmony and power of the sun.