Traditionally, Ukrainian Eastern Rite Churches revere the Mother of God during the month of May and many many years ago it became custom in Ukrainian towns and villages to designate one special day in the year to celebrate Mother's Day during this month.

rochdale-mothers-day-30-05-11-photo-1.jpgThe annual celebration of Mothers’ Day in Rochdale was preceded by ladies from the local branch of the Association of Ukrainian Women in Great Britain (OUZh) decorating the local community hall and stage with embroidery and an icon of the Virgin Mary.

Choristers from the OUZ choir, under the leadership of Susan Solomchak, opened the celebrations with the religious hymn, “Please Help Us” (“O Spomahay Nas”) which was followed by the the headmistress of the Ukrainian school, Maria Kopczyk, delivering a short speech dededicated to this wonderful day.  

Olya Kearns, also a teacher at the school, read a poem written by a former member of Rochdale's community, the late Dmytro Kurtyanyk, “Naydorozchya na Sviti” (“The Dearest on Earth”).  

Two further songs by the OUZh choir followed with excellent renditions of “Bohorodytse Divo” (“The Mother of God”) and “Mamyna Vyshnya” (“Mother’s Cherry Tree”).  

There were breaks from the live performances gave everyone an opportunity to see film footage of a former Ukrainian school pupil, Ivan Kopczyk, taking park in a performance of the “Podilya” dance ensemble at the International Eistedfodd in Llangollen and the dance “Kozatski Tantsi” (“The Cossack Dances”) from “Podilya’s” performances at the Kyiv International Folk Festival in 2009.
A cast of local school children performed a song and poems; as a group “Lyublyu Spivate” (“I Love to Sing”), then poems with Danylo Vovkun “Mamo Nasha Myla” (“Our Dearest Mother”); Katrusia and Sofia Ostrovercha with “Mamo Kohano” (“Mother Dearest”); Harry Hoyle with “Mami” (“To Mother”); and lastly Ben Hoyle with “Vkolonusia” (“I Bow Down”).  

The poems “Snylosh Meni Yasne Sontse” (“I Dreamt a Bright Sun”) was read by Nursery teacher, Natalka Hewka, and “Ridna Maty” (“My Own Mother”), read by Maria Kopczyk (the latter poem being written by local author, Tonia Demyanczyk Szalapay).

The evening ended with all school pupils, clutching bouquets of flowers in their hands, singing “Mnohaya Lita” (“Wishing you a Long Life”) and then presenting the flowers to their mothers and to other other ladies present, whose children have long since left the school.


Taras Melnyk



Ukrayinska Dumka


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