Yavorivsky zabavky will be the main adornment of the Christmas tree of Ukraine this year. The guests from Kyiv talked with local authorities, the director of Yavoriv historical museum Mariana Havlylyuk-Hasydzhak and local artists to learn how to present traditional Yavorivsky zabavky during Christmas fair on Sofia Square in the capital.
These traditional Ukrainian toys originated in Yavoriv city in 18th century and it reached its greatest popularity in the middle of 19th. Now, this Ukrainian decoration is experiencing its rebirth, as many craftsmen are inspired by Yavorivska zabavka.
Yavorivska zabavka is a unique and ancient toy with a several hundred year history and you cannot find it in children shops. These toys are made mainly from aspen, a tree that is believed from ancient times to have a magical ability to repel all evil. So zabavka is not just a toy, but but precious talisman.
The toys are painted with a special traditional pattern called “verbivka”. The drawings on zabavka, usually flowers, leaves, are drawn in form of willow branches. The art to create these toys is passed from generation to generation in some families.
At first Yavorivsky zabavky were only painted in three colours: green that symbolizes the grass and leaves, red for fruits and berries and blue for the sky and water. And a new color appeared in the early 20th century – yellow, which represents the sun.
The tradition of Yavorivska zabavka craft is more than 400 years old and the toys are completely safe for children as they are made from wood and painted with harmless acrylic paints instead of vegetable dyes.
Yavorivky zabavky have hundreds or even thousands of forms. You will not find an ethnographer able to count them all. Most toys represent themes of everyday life of Ukrainians, such as figures of people and animals, vehicles, household equipment, furniture, dishes and many others. There are amazing little buckets and zbanochky, cradles and boxes...
Some toys are the embodiment of Ukrainian musicality and melodiousness: tarahkaltsya, daker hens, whistles, flutes. One of the most popular zabavka was the violin.
Yavorivsky zabavky have nothing to do with machine production. Each toy is the result of work and talent of the folk craftsmen. Wood retains heat of the hands and passes it to the child. This living creative energy poured into the toy makes you love it more and more.