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The 40th Annual Carpatho-Rusyn Celebration will take place on Sunday, October 30, 2022 at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church Social Hall, 201 East Main Street, Uniontown, PA.  Hours are from 12:00 Noon – 5:00 PM.

After a one-year hiatus (2020 due to COVID) and a modified take-out festival (2021) The 40th Annual Carpatho-Rusyn Celebration has been revived. The day will feature the heritage of the Carpatho-Rusyns who come from the very heart of Europe, along the northern and southern slopes of the Carpathian Mountains.  Their homeland, known as “Carpathian-Rus”, is situated at the crossroads where the borders of Slovakia, Ukraine, and Poland meet.  Aside from these countries, there are smaller groups of Rusyns in Romania, Hungary, Serbia, and the Czech Republic.  In no country do the Carpatho-Rusyns have an administratively distinct territory.

It is immigrants from the Carpathian-Rus’, who came to the United States in the early 1900’s, settled in this area, worked in the mills and mines, and started several churches, one being St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church.  The Carpatho-Rusyns, though a Slavic group, have distinct differences in language, customs, music, dance, folk crafts, and foods.  These immigrants brought their traditions with them and maintained them, particularly those in their church life, which was of utmost importance to them.

The day will highlight various aspects of Carpatho-Rusyn culture.  Mouth-watering foods such as pirohi, holubki, halushki, kolbasi and sauerkraut, soup, and more.  There will also be a variety of baked goods including kolachi (apricot, nut, poppyseed, and cottage cheese rolls), pagach, breads, cookies, candy, and much, much more.

The Carpatho-Rusyn Celebration will be a blending of spiritual and cultural traditions of the Rusyn people.  A Divine Liturgy Saturday, October 29 at  5:30 p.m. will include a blessing for the event and festival workers.  There will be a Divine Liturgy on Sunday, October 30 at 10:30 a.m. which will have some parts in the Church Slavonic language.

There will be on-going entertainment which includes music, singing, demonstrations, videos, displays and presentations.  A folk musical group, “Rusynsky Betjare” will perform folk, chardash, and polka music from 12:30 and throughout the afternoon.

Information on various topics such as Carpatho-Rusyn family customs (both secular and religious), genealogy and tracing cultural roots, and recent trips to the Carpathian homeland will be available.  At 2:00 PM, a speaker will discuss some cultural topics regarding Rusyns. Of particular interest is the War in Ukraine, which has affected the lives of many Rusyns who reside there. The current pastor, Father Vasyl Symyon of St. John Church, is originally from Ukraine.  There will be information presented about Carpatho-Rusyn culture and customs, and iconography.  Program is subject to change.

Once again there will be the fun-filled children’s activities area where children can experience the Rusyn culture through hands-on making folk craft projects such as decorated eggs, bookmarks, decorating cookies, coloring sheets, and more.  There will also be demonstrations of pysanky (egg decorating), folk embroidery, bobbin lace making, and woodburning, which are traditional folk crafts of the Carpatho-Rusyns as well as iconography.  A display will include costumes, striking photographs and paintings of Rusyn folk life, crafts, religious artifacts, models of historic Rusyn wooden churches, and artifacts of the Carpatho-Rusyn heritage. During a church tour, visitors may view the 3-tier icon screen, many icons, and the outdoor shrine at St. John’s Church.

Tables of crafts for sale will include contemporary crafts as well as traditional Carpatho-Rusyn folk crafts.  The contemporary crafts include secular and religious items, fall decorations, Christmas items, and much more.  The folk crafts of the Rusyns include pysanky (decorated eggs), embroideries such as those used to cover Easter baskets to be blessed, wood burned icons and icon ornaments, and other articles.  Many raffles include baskets, folk art and craft items including Christmas, and much more.  The Carpathian Cookery Cookbook of St. John’s parish in its 19th printing will be once again available having sold over 19,000 copies.

The day will be one full of culture, life, and music for family entertainment.  There is no admission charge. Handicapped accessible. The pastor is Father Vasyl Symyon.  For information call 724-438-1382, M-F  9AM-3PM (leave message).


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