The Ukrainians and Hibernians Had a Party

photo of painting of bandurist surrounded by Irish decorations

The Ukrainians and Hibernians Had a Party

In a little bit of mixed visual metaphor, The Ancient Order of Hibernians in Pittsburgh have been teaming up with the Ukrainian American Citizen’s Club of the Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in Carnegie to host events, like the weekly Fish Fry during Lent.

This is a stylized painting of a bandurist wearing a traditional shirt and beads, her traditionally-patterned skirt used as a graphic element as much as a garment. The addition of the Irish flags and shamrocks wasn’t at all puzzling when I walked in, though they might be to some.

My mother’s side of the family is Ukrainian, and this was her church until she married my father, a Roman Catholic. Still, we kept ties with the church through relatives and friends, and her parents had been instrumental in developing the church, building the new building and the social hall, and by extension the Citizen’s Club, or the Uke’s Club as we called it when I was growing up.

I actually went to an Irish Catholic grade school in a little Carnegie community called Irishtown, little Polish-Ukrainian girl, me. When someone asks me my nationality, I say that I am an American, not to be silly or difficult, but growing up in a post-war ranch house development with the influences of every European nationality and religion, continuing later with public school and attending a state college and driving Fords for the most part, I don’t know or remember much of that heritage. My grandparents, who had lived difficult lives and died rather young and who I never knew, tried to preserve as much of their heritage as possible, but to be honest my parents wanted none of it. They were the first generation in this country and were all about moving forward.

Because the Eastern Rite celebrations are held on different days from the Western traditions, we always had two chances at Christmas, New Year’s and Easter. The club was open as a club as well and hosted many non-religious celebrations, and I remember some pretty wild parties at the Uke’s Club when I was growing up.

But the Hibernians are nice people, too and I think it’s a natural combination. A very nice time was had by all.

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