Every culture has a lot of stories, folk wisdom and other knowledge to pass on. Ukrainian culture is no exception to this rule. As the world focuses on Ukraine and its implications for the US Presidential race, it’s a good time to reflect on the culture. Many of these proverbs are still used widely, and they’re very revealing about Ukrainian society and values. These sayings have been handed down for generations, and represent the enduring wisdom of the culture, collectively.
One famous Ukrainian proverb is, “Where is the love in the house, there are rich people.” A saying like this is a great window into the values of Ukrainian society. Interpersonal and particularly family relationships have great importance in Ukraine. In a culture that has endured several ups and downs in terms of wealth, political leadership and other variables over the past century, it’s very telling that interpersonal bonds are highly valued. Ukraine knows that it’s only possible to control some factors in life. One of those is to spend time in loving, respectful relationships. No matter what’s going on in the outside world, those relationships are a great support.
Another great proverb from Ukraine is, “Who will sow early, and will reap.” This is a great commentary on work ethic and how to be successful in life. Sowing early reflects a farmer who is ready when the moment arrives and the ground is first prepared. That speaks of someone who is well-prepared to take advantage of favorable circumstances that come there way. The second part of the proverb, “and will reap,” speaks of someone harvesting the proceeds of their hard work. Once again, paying attention and being prepared has worked in this hypothetical farmer’s advantage. In Ukraine, these sayings are used for all lines of work and even in situations like schooling. Ukraine knows that success is all about showing up and being ready.
Finally, there’s a lot of wisdom about aging and death in Ukrainian. One of the best examples of this is “Age live – age learn.” This reflects the idea that with the accumulation of life experience comes wisdom. In Ukrainian culture, there’s nothing wrong with having setbacks or making mistakes. The important part is to learn from them and get better.