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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Teens explore their family’s Cossack history

25 November, 2010 - 00:00
Photo by Ruslan KANIUKA, The Day

The second season of the five-year-long National Children’s Competition I Am of Cossack Ancestry was recently launched. The competition was organized for the second consecutive year by the Cossack Fortress children’s camp. The event began with a performance by the Hopak art show. Then the contest’s special guest Vasyl Virastiuk brought to the hall a huge two-meter mace, the symbol of the competition. According to the organizing committee chairman, Director of the Cossack Fortress children’s camp Volodymyr Sherstiuk, the idea of competition arose at the camp, when children were telling campfire legends about the Cossacks. “The Competition I Am of Cossack Ancestry was created in order to get children to become more interested in history, explore their genealogies, to reflect on the exploits and heroic victories of their ancestors. The first year of the competition notably resulted in over 500 messages from all over Ukraine. We determined 20 winners of the contest, all of whom have received gifts, while the best 10 winners spent their summer vacation at the Cossack Fortress children’s camp. The best children’s works were compiled into the Book of Cossack legends,” stressed Sherstiuk. The second season of the contest has two themes, amateur poetry on heroic topics and Cossack legends. According to the organizers, the Cossacks were not only fighters, but also very creative people: they wrote poetry, composed songs, played musical instruments.

If the Greeks had tender Orpheus as the symbol of creative spirit, then Ukrainians had warrior-sorcerer Cossack Mamai. The most famous Cossack poets were Ivan Mazepa, Pylyp Orlyk, Otaman Antin Holovaty, and Semen Klymovsky, a Cossack from Kharkiv, author of the text of the famous song The Cossack road beyond the Danube).

Children are invited to add new poems to the Ukrainian heroic poetry treasure chest. The contest submissions will be received from The Day of Ukrainian Writing and Language (November 9, 2011) to the anniversary of Taras Shevchenko’s birth (March 9, 2011). The chairman of the jury Roman Koliada said that the main criteria for selection of the competition’s best works are their conformity with the competition’s topic and independent nature. Submissions must be written in Ukrainian and not have previously been published.