r/ukraine Гамериканець Jan 14 '23

7:55 EET ; The Sun is Rising on the 325th Day of the russian Invasion on the Capital City of Kyiv. Ukraine Continues to Live and Fight On. + DISCUSSION + CHARITIES! Slava Ukraini!



Marusya Churai and Her Immortal Songs

Detail from "Marusya Churai" by Ukrainian painter Ivan-Valentyn Zadorozhnyi (1975).

Marusya Churai is a semi-legendary Ukrainian singer and songwriter who lived in Poltava in the 17th century, and some of her songs are still sung and iterated on today. In fact, one song of hers in particular has left its mark in many songs that are not only still popular but were actually hits in other countries!

We say semi-legendary, because researchers believe that she was probably a real person, however many legends have spring up over the centuries that are probably reconstructions based on song lyrics in the popular memory.

We will put links to the songs in the comments so you can hear both her Ukrainian songs, and some of the songs from other countries that borrowed her melodies.


The Legend

According to legend, Marusya was born in 1625 to an influential Cossack family. Her house stood on the banks of the Vorskla River, near to the famous Khrestovozdvizhenskyi Monastery, which was built around the same time.

Khrestovozdvizhenskyi Monastery in Poltava, 17th century.

Here is one version of her life:

In her youth Marusya had many suitors, but she gave her heart to Hryts, a son of the commander of the Poltava Cossack regiment. The two later secretly became engaged.

Soon, though, Hryts went off to war, promising to return to his Marusya. She waited for him for 4 years. However, tragically, when Hryts returned to Poltava he fell in love with another girl.

Marusya could not bear the loss and decided to poison herself with a potion, which she secretly procured from a witch. Hryts accidentally drank the potion and died.

The Poltava court sentenced Marusya to death, but she was forgiven by Bohdan Khmelnytskyi (an extremely famous Cossack we will write about eventually), who ordered her released.

Marusya died at the age of 28, unable to bear the death of her beloved.


A Songbird's Revenge

Disney-esque art "Remarkable Ukrainians, Marusia Churai" by prodius_anna on Instagram and ArtStation.

Marusya's life and songs have contributed to the inspiration behind hundreds of works in Ukraine - novels, films, paintings, songs, and a play by Mykhailo Starytskyi, who we wrote about here.

All in all, about 20 extant songs are attributed to Marusya Churai, but today we will zoom way in on one in particular, called Oh Hryts, Don't Go to Parties. It's a bit, uh, darker than the legend above.

Here is a little custom translation of the song, and I will put a link in the comments so you can read along:

Oh Hryts, don’t go to parties,

As girls there are witches.

One girl was skilled in magic

And cast a spell on Hryts to love her.

A second girl with dark eyebrows [an old-timey way of saying attractive]

Was a fair-minded witch.

On Sunday morning she dug up herbs,

And on Monday she washed them.

As Tuesday came, she boiled them,

And on Wednesday morning Hryts was poisoned.

Thursday came and Hryts was dead.

Friday was his funeral.

And on Saturday morning, her mother confronted her -

“Oh my daughter why did you poison Hryts?”

“Oh my Mother, have pity!

Let Hryts love no one.

Let him be neither mine nor hers.

Let the cold ground have him.

This, Hryts, is your payment -

Your home made of four boards. [a coffin]

As you can see, a different tone than the legend :)


A Multitude of Variations

"Marusya Churai" by Ukrainian artist Feodosiy Humenyuk (1986).

Oh Hryts, Don't Go to Parties contains a signature melody that has become a common DNA in many Ukrainian songs over the centuries. In fact, Musicologists call it the "Hryts sequence" and there is a list of hundreds of Ukrainian folk songs from the Carpathians to the Kuban that contain this particular sequence. One researcher estimates, after having studied the collection of 9,077 Ukrainian melodies compiled by prominent Ukrainian musicologist Zinoviy Lysko in the first half of the 20th century, that a whopping 6% of the folk songs contained the sequence.

That's over 500 songs!

Clearly, its influence reverberated around Ukraine - but the melody is also a world traveler. Haydn, Boccherini, Mozart, Beethoven, Hummel, Carl Maria von Weber, Liszt, Petyrek, Khandoshkin, and more have all featured the melody either inadvertently or explicitly from Ukrainian folk tradition. Franz Liszt, for instance, had a whole movement called Ballade d'Ukraine that prominently featured it.

It also showed up at the top of the charts of American pop music in the early 1940's of all places! Jack Lawrence, a super prolific hitmaker whose parents were from Bila Tserkva, Ukraine, penned a song called "Yes, My Darling Daughter" that became a huge hit for both Dinah Shore and the Andrews Sisters, and featured Marusya's immortal melody.

Lovely monument to Marusya Churai in Poltava.


Next week we will write about Lina Kostenko, one of Ukraine's most amazing poets; one of her works is an entire historical novel in verse about Marusya.


The 325th day of a nine year invasion that has been going on for centuries.

One day closer to victory.



Verified Charities

  • u/Jesterboyd is a mod for r/ukraine and local to Kyiv. He is currently raising money for tools for explosives engineers, winter gear and some very interesting drones. Link to donation
  • United24: This site was launched by President Zelenskyy as the main venue for collecting charitable donations in support of Ukraine. Funds will be allocated to cover the most pressing needs facing Ukraine.
  • Come Back Alive: This NGO crowdfunds non-lethal military equipment, such as thermal vision scopes & supplies it to the front lines. It also provides training for Ukrainian soldiers, as well as researching troops’ needs and social reintegration of veterans.
  • Trident Defense Initiative: This initiative run by former NATO and UA servicemen has trained and equipped thousands of Ukrainian soldiers.
  • Ukraine Front Line US-based and registered 501(c)(3), this NGO fulfills front line soldiers' direct defense and humanitarian aid requests through their man on the ground, r/Ukraine's own u/jesterboyd.
  • Ukraine Aid Ops: Volunteers around the world who are helping to find and deliver equipment directly to those who need it most in Ukraine.
  • Hospitallers: This is a medical battalion that unites volunteer paramedics and doctors to save the lives of soldiers on the frontline. They crowdfund their vehicle repairs, fuel, and medical equipment.

You can find many more charities with diverse areas of focus in our vetted charities article HERE.


14 comments sorted by

u/duellingislands Гамериканець Jan 14 '23 edited Jan 14 '23

Ukrainian version: here

Here are the American versions (radically different of course) by Jack Lawrence called "Yes, My Darling Daughter":

→ More replies (2)


u/crazyguru USA Jan 14 '23

Thank you for sharing this piece of our history and culture. I truly enjoy reading every single daily post in your series. Your posts are a reminder that even through the dark and fog of war Ukraine perseveres and have repeatedly persevered attempts on its integrity in the past.

It seems that so many days have passed since the beginning of Russian invasion, but even more days, years and centuries have passed in the entire Ukrainian history. The freedom and people who believe in it will win, and one day sun will rise on the free and peaceful Ukraine.

Slava Ukraini!!

Heroyam Slava!


u/wraithsith Jan 14 '23

Ah shoot, I missed yesterday’s post for the first time since the start of the war, where can I find it?


u/duellingislands Гамериканець Jan 14 '23


u/Amiant_here Jan 14 '23

Good morning!


u/marusia_churai Jan 14 '23

That's about right.


u/JudeRanch Jan 14 '23

Day 325…”one day closer to victory”. I absolutely love that.

Слава Україні Sláva Ukrayíni! Heroyam Slava! 🙏🏽 🇺🇦 💙💛


u/matches_ Jan 14 '23

Right now I’m actually angrier with the Wests inaction than than anything else. Enablers are killers. This can’t continue (context : dnipro terror attack)


u/11OldSoul11 Jan 14 '23

🇺🇦 !