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Poppies

Our ancestors believed that poppies had very potent protective powers. These plants were in embroideries and house ornaments, in bouquets and recipes and greatly served as magical protection against all kinds of evil forces.

There is a story about a young composer who, while traveling in the Carpathians, fell in love with a beautiful local girl. One evening on the way to see her, he picked some nice red flowers for her. To his utmost shock, the girl threw the flowers down and ran away, crying. He didn't know about the local tradition – to break up with somebody you have to bring them red poppies, as if saying: that’s for your protection, because I am leaving. The young composer suffered greatly, not understanding why this girl left and has been avoiding him since, and from his pain the beautiful song was born, a tango “Червоні маки”.

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Flower of the Sun

Symbol of energy, good luck and abundance. Spirit-lifting flower of happiness.

The attribute of every garden of Central and Southern Ukraine for its beauty and power to bring good fortune.

There is a legend about a beautiful girl, whose beloved cossack had to go to war. “Which road will you take to come home to me? Where can I look to see you again?” – she asked, crying. “From where the sun shines” – he answered, kissing her goodbye.

The cossack was killed in battle, never coming home. The girl looked every day into the sunshine, awaiting her beloved, and eventually transformed into a beautiful flower, which turns its face to the sun since. 

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Mallow flowers

Red, purple, yellow, blue, white – these flowers were the necessary attributes of every garden.

They grow tall, as if trying to reach the sun. Like candles or high pinnacles of a cathedral they have such dignified air about them – standing in perfect silence, as if in an eternal dream.

All summer long Mallows stand on guard of a house. People considered them to be protectors, the guardians of the living. Some believed that souls of deceased beloved relatives could live in these flowers for some time.

Mallows had a practical purpose as well. People used them as cold remedies and also to make dye from the brightly coloured flowers.

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Viburnum

A beautiful shrub with large snowy flowers in summer and decorative bunches of red berries in autumn.

There is no other plant mentioned this often in folklore. It is in countless songs, legends, ornaments and decorations. It associates with our motherland’s fate and beauty.

For singing a song about a red viburnum “Червона Калина” a person might have gotten thrown in jail or deported to Siberia in dark times of USSR. It almost seems that plant posed a threat to their communists’ regime somehow.

After the first frost berries of this shrub undergo a mysterious transformation, they become transparent with an amber-like glow and acquire a sweet taste.

Viburnum is also famous for its medicinal properties. It was so-called a domestic apothecary, because many health issues – from sore throat to back pain – were addressed by proper usage of berries, leaves, bark, or roots of this potent plant.

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Blanket for Gnomes

When I was a little girl I used to go for a walk with my father to a nearby park. It was a really beautiful place, with lots of trails to explore, hills to climb, and flowers to pick.  In the fall the ground was covered with colorful maple leaves, which I liked to gather into big rustling bunches.

Once I have met an old lady in that park, and she told me the most amazing story about gnomes and leprechauns living in this forest. Apparently they were hiding from us, wanting to keep their secrets, but if I leave a couple of bunches of leaves for them, they would use them to make beautiful blankets for themselves for winter. In return, they may bring me good luck or leave me a golden coin as gratitude for my work.

Needless to say, I worked hard that day! Many leafy bunches were made and placed strategically for gnomes to find. The next day on my walk I looked everywhere, but did not find any golden coins. That was really disappointing: what if they didn’t like those leaves or maybe somebody was here first and took my coin…

But then, on a way home, I spotted something shiny. There was a big golden coin, right in a middle of a road! It didn’t matter that it was just 5 cents, and not gold but copper. It was my magical golden coin from gnomes!