Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Full Sunday

We rushed out the door this morning to make it to 9:30 mass at the Roman Catholic church nearby, and have not slowed down until this moment. We entered the ornate Polish/Ukrainian church and found a pew. The pews were ancient, unstable, and incredibly uncomfortable. The church was comfortably full and Carter stayed in his stroller in the aisle. At first, Erik could not figure out if the mass was in Polish or in Ukrainian. But, he finally decided that the priest was Polish but the mass was in Ukrainian. His oral comprehension of Ukrainian is not that strong, but Erik picked out some emphasis that was more typical of Polish (familiar words that the priest stressed on the second to last syllable, but should not have been in Ukrainian). In any case, we had limited comprehension of the substance, but the to and structure was more familiar than last week, other than a couple of curious events. When offertory time came, two older men dressed in robes came around with baskets. As some of you know, they make change from the offertory baskets here. This took a considerable amount of time. The men stopped during consecration and knelt, then kept going. When communion time came, people lined up on their knees down the center aisle and the priests came to them for communion.

After mass, we decided to go to the outdoor museum of architecture - an open-air museum featuring Ukrainian peasant structures from several centuries. Essentially, it is the Greenfield Village of L'viv. Phil and Jani told us that there would be a festival of folk music and other activities at the park today. We collected some snacks, and headed for the tramvai.
It stopped about 15 minutes downhill from the entrance to the park. When we got to the ticket booth, Erik was told that because of the festival, prices were much higher if visitors were not wearing Ukrainian national garb. Since we are not Ukrainian, and don't own any national clothing, we shelled out the 100 grivnya (around $20) for entry for the three of us. We walked around the beautiful wooded grounds, stopping in to see several structures. Unfortunately, they were not open yet (some were opened later). We stopped for a picnic lunch, visited with the farm animals, then continued to explore. To the left, you can see Carter in front of a 19th century farmstead. To the right, you can see Carter and Erik in front of an 18th century church. Both had been transported to the museum in the Soviet era. The church was labeled as a "monument of architecture" and still had the old Soviet plaque. But, the word "Soviet" had been scratched off. The concert was scheduled to start around 3 p.m. We found a nice grassy spot on a slight incline to view the festivities. The first performance was a group of three women with incredible voices singing traditional Ukrainian mountain tunes. The music was lovely, but a bit placid and hypnotic for us. While they were playing, a man walked in and the crowd started to applaud. He walked up to someone directly behind us and we were suddenly surrounded by people taking pictures, and by a member of the news media. Erik stood up to take a picture of the interview right behind us (see the photo below) while Lea consoled a napping Carter who was startled by the huge crowd of fans surrounding him. It turned out that the mystery man was the headliner for the evening concert, which we knew we would not stay for.

The three singing women were followed by a fabulous Hutsul band that played a brand of furious and fast folk music that we - and the assembled crowd - could not get enough of. At the beginning of the show, most concert-goers sat quietly in their spots. By the end of this band's set, the masses had formed a Ukrainian mosh pit/square dance and demanded an encore which the band gladly offered. Erik even found one of the accordion players backstage after the set and told him how much he liked the music. The next act was a solid Lithuanian polka band that included an Eastern European version of Public Enemy's S1W, as three members of the band simply stood on stage with a Lithuanian flag and placard with a map of the world labeled "Lituania." We encountered lots of interesting characters and activities - too many to relate in detail. So, we will let the pictures below tell the rest of the story.


Aunt Penguin said...

Sounds like a great day. I guess though you are going to need traditional costumes for these things, might be cheaper

Anonymous said...

Looks like Erik needed a collarless shirt with a colorful insert to be dressed properly. I take it the Hutsul band is the one with the large hammered dulcimer sort of instrument. They look interesting, as does the bearded fellow with a large whatever in hand.

Making change at collection happens at least in Albanian parishes in the States. Their basket only takes bills...
Lea's Dad