Celebrating the Embroidered Shirt – Today’s Doodle, illustrated by Kyiv-based guest artist Tania Yakunova, honors the Ukrainian embroidered shirt (known as vyshyvanka) in commemoration of International Vyshyvanka Day. Held each year on the third Thursday of May, this holiday is dedicated to the preservation and revival of Ukraine’s folk tradition of crafting and wearing embroidered clothing. What began in 2006 has since exploded into a global phenomenon with participation in over 50 countries around the world.
Embroidery has been a part of Ukrainian culture since long before the country itself was established. According to archaeological evidence and the accounts of the Greek historian Herodotus, the Scythians who inhabited Ukrainian territories as early as the 9th-century B.C. often wore embroidered clothing.
Over 250 distinct embroidery stitches can be used to form the vyshyvanka’s signature coded symbols. These typically fall into three categories: floral ornamentation, zoomorphic figures, and geometric shapes, all of which can be found in today’s Doodle artwork. No pattern comes without a detailed meaning, and Ukraine’s varied cultures and natural landscapes are reflected in the unique iconography employed within each region.
Centuries later, the vyshyvanka today is recognized as an integral component of Ukraine’s national costume and an expression of patriotism and cultural pride. So throw on your finest embroidered shirt, and join in this celebration of Ukrainian culture!
Happy International Vyshyvanka Day!
Guest Artist Q&A with Tiana Yakunova
Today’s Doodle was illustrated by Kyiv-based guest artist Tania Yakunova. Below, she shares her thoughts behind the making of this Doodle:
Q: Why was this topic meaningful to you personally?
A: I’m fascinated by national patterns in traditional embroidery and decoration. One can explore all our history only by investigating the history of national patterns. And personally, it reminds me of the history of my family.
Q: Did you draw inspiration from anything in particular for this Doodle?
A: The biggest part of my process for this project was digging in national embroidery and patterns. I used traditional colours and tried to incorporate symbols and pattern styles from different regions of Ukraine. Most elements are inspired by real traditional embroidery elements from different parts of Ukraine from Carpathian Hutsul to Crimean Tatars. I found out so much visual inspiration and many interesting details! This was truly an educational project for me.
Q: What message do you hope people take away from your Doodle?
A: I thought much about people who will see it while working. I hope it will bring them joy, pride, and a sense of unity.
Early concepts and sketches of the Doodle
You can find more about Celebrating the Embroidered Shirt on the official Google Doodle Page