Interview with John Woronuk 1.3

Dublin Core


Interview with John Woronuk 1.3




1928: farm at Rycroft; Edmonton (40s), United States







Oral History Item Type Metadata


Chernevych, Andriy


Woronuk, John

OHMS Object Text

5.4 Interview with John Woronuk 1.3 2004-091-0644 33:49 U2 Local Cultures Easter Christmas Clothing Songs Dances Malanka Woronuk, John Chernevych, Andriy mp3 2004-091-0644.mp3 0 Other audio English 0 House decoration, religion He was born in a little log house. By the time he was one year old, they moved to a new modern house which still stands on a farm. The house was a conventional one with Anglo-Saxon decor that you would have found anywhere. No tapestries that used to be hung in the old house. The only thing that mother collected as a representation of Ukrainianess would have been Easter eggs (which she did not paint herself). Pictures on the walls were all of the family - her children and relatives. John is saying that Rembrandt and Picasso would have had no place on his mother's wall. It did not represent the culture outside of the family. By the time John was raised his mother had a comfort zone with the church but the father did not. John tells a long story about religion and some complications his father had with a priest after which he would not go to the church anymore. John explains his own feeling about the church and religion. John says that does not recall any icons in their house when he was a kid. There was one particular sign saying 'God bless this home' both in Ukrainian and English. There was a crucifix hanging with that indicating some attachment. But at the same time, the home did not have any move towards fulfilling the full obligation to the church. 594 Easter, Christmas, Malanka, songs John remembers Malanka. He said he could not wait for that day to come. That was a unique experience because mostly men from the neighbourhood would get together, they would come to the house and sing outside. His family would listen to their songs and then they would invite these men inside. One of them would play the part of the devil. The others would distract the family. And this is fully knowing that he would be pulling some staff but they would let him do this. And he would go and change sugar and salt and do little tricks like that. It was very exciting to have 6-7 men, all well-known to the community, in your house. John recalls that one was dressed in some sort of costume to indicate that he was the chort (devil). All pretended to watch him. And singing sometimes was outstanding. Later a large Russian group of people moved into the area. They were marvelous singers and heavy drinkers. They lived another ten miles further north of John's family. They would come into town on Saturday to do shopping. At night, they were drunk, and on their way back, they would sing nice songs. John said they were waiting for them to sing. He is asked about other costumes for Malanka performance. John assumes they all had costumes so that people were not supposed to recognize them. Malanka was over by the time when Russian people came to the area that was shortly before the war, around 1939. By that time the tradition died out. John recalled several lines from the devil's repertoire of a play that was performed in a local Ukrainian Community Hall in the early 1930s. The Hall was five miles from John's house and they would go there by sleigh once a year, maybe twice at most. 1129 Plays, dance, music, clothing John told the plot of the stories played in the Community Hall. It was Byzantium, unrealistic stories of devil and people with supernatural power. They would always have Ukrainian dances involved. Somebody had tsymbaly. Tsymbaly and violin were common to every get together. His Dad was in high demand because he played tsymbaly. Music, a song and occasional play were important components of ethnic display for the community. Clothing had changed. His grandmother died with her hair still bound in the Eastern Orthodox fashion. His mother was the first generation who discarded this tradition. He tells more about the tradition to cover head and hair. 1403 Birthday, Dominion Day, picnics, Thanksgiving They did not celebrate birthdays. John even does not remember his father's birthday. They celebrated children's birthdays rather casually. He does not remember any gifts. Picnics were very common every summer. The most exciting part was making pails of ice-cream and having to sell it at one cent a scoop. Races for the children, ball games. Picnics took place on their pasture and he remembers the cow droppings were used for bases. Thanksgiving was not important. But there must have been an orthodox celebration of the harvest. He does not remember any details he remembers though that they had a sort of appreciation. He is positive there was something prior to 1939. Maybe related to the Orthodox calendar. 1928: farm at Rycroft ; Edmonton (40s), United States No transcript. audio 0

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