Since the 2014 revolution, there has been a surge in national pride in Ukraine, especially at the fashion front.
This has contributed to a revival of Ukrainian folk staples, most noticeably the vinok — a traditional Ukrainian flower crown.
Here, in Ukraine, the vinok isn’t merely a pretty accessory: The meaning of the wreaths traces back to Ukraine’s early history, when they were associated with virginity, marriage, and womanhood, and have continued to be, up until the early 20th century.
In both Ukraine and Russia, both spouses-to-be would wear crowns during the wedding ceremony, apparently continuing an ancient tradition from Byzantium.
Ukraine has preserved the original Greek and Byzantine tradition of wedding head wreaths.
However, in Ukraine there is yet another tradition, of young unmarried women wearing the wreaths during the spring, whereas their Russian counterparts generally do not.
Ancient history aside, the vinok is still associated with marriage, though its literal matrimonial meaning has transformed into more of a decorative piece.
After the Ukrainian revolution, all Ukrainian symbols have become really popular. It is not uncommon to see women in Kiev wearing a headband embellished with fake flowers during the summer.
The subject of the vinok and national pride is an obvious connection, but there are political connotations that come along with representing the homeland’s florid past: The Motherland Monument — a 203-foot-tall statue that was constructed during Soviet times and remains a potent symbol of WWII — was decorated with a vinok for the May 9 holiday known as Victory Day.