Back to the magazine2019 year №3

Secular Plays in Churches: Folklore-Based Drama on the Canadian Prairies

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The authors of the publication:
Kononenko Natalie
Bibliographic description:
Kononenko, N. (2019) Secular Plays in Churches: Folklore-Based Drama on the Canadian Prairies. Folk Art and Ethnology, 2 (378), 28–40.


Kononenko Natalie (Edmonton, Сanada)

a Ph.D., a professor, a Kule Chair of Ukrainian Ethnography at the University of Alberta


Secular Plays in Churches: Folklore-Based Drama on the Canadian Prairies



Starting from the late XIXth century, Ukrainians have been recruited to settle and farm the prairies of Central and Western Canada. The Canadian government has tried to assimilate the Ukrainians who come and practiced aggressive language policy, especially in the educational system. To countervail the governmental pressure of anglization, Ukrainians have established their own institutions: Orthodox and Eastern Rite Catholic churches. The churches and the organizations affiliated with them, such as Women’s Leagues, have taught folk traditions including pysanka­writing, embroidery and folk dances. Church halls and national houses are allowed for secular activities, such as folklore­based plays in Ukrainian. The plays, popular in the 1950s–1960s, reflect the hopes and fears of Ukrainian Canadians concerning the relatives and friends they have left in Ukraine. The plays are no longer staged and many of the rural churches are now closed. The revival of these plays has become a part of the Sanctuary Project, a multi­year team effort to document Ukrainian­Canadian sacral culture.



verbal art, migration and settlement, churches, language, drama.



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