The Central District Library of the Centralized Library System of the Pecherskiy district of Kyiv not only gives books for readers, but also provides the classes in economics and computer science, language courses, meetings with cultural workers, artists and scientists, and the other varied lectures in a lot of spheres.
For several years, the librarians have been inviting the representatives of the Islamic Cultural Center in the meeting with readers. Thus, on March 10, in the department of Turkish literature, led by Liubov Bila, the interested audience gathered to listen to the report of the researcher Tetyana Yevloyeva about the common features of the traditional women's folk costumes of different regions of Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus and the countries of the Islamic world.
The Lecture "The Hijab in Ukrainian style" was accompanied with illustrative material, but the interest of the present listeners was also focused on the report, and on the individual of the speaker, who is an Ukrainian by origin, Muslim, and even so, she remains follower of observance of Ukrainian traditions within the limits of the possible according to her religion, refuting the false impression that a Muslim woman should be dressed for sure like an Arabian woman.
As it turned out, for everlasting, Ukrainian-Christian women followed strict and clear rules of dressing. Sometimes, it was stricter and more exacting than the simple direction for Muslim woman to wear modest attire and to cover her head with a scarf. Although, in Islam the compulsion does not exist and it is considered unacceptable, since ancient times, in Ukraine it was considered a terrible sin and shame if a married woman went out without headscarf on her head. In addition, a Muslim woman could be at home without covering her head with a hijab, meanwhile the same thing was inadmissible in the Ukrainian families. The woman had to be covered with scarf or ochipok, or povoinik, or obrus…
There were a lot of kinds of ochipoks, such as modest for everyday life, and expensive, especially for holidays, made with expensive textile, with precious trimmings. But at first, the woman had to wear a scarf under the ochipok, then to wrap a namitka around the ochipok (or rather - to wind- to tie around it). Namitka is a linen or delicate piece of cloth 5-7 meters long and 50 centimeters wide.
For Ukrainian women, the namitka (it is also called nametka, peremitka, namytze, serpanok, rantuh, sklendyachka) was a kind of talisman, and an important ritual element: at the wedding, the hands of the young couple were tied with namitka, as well as the bride were “covered” with it, in such way the bride confirmed her status as a married woman. By the way, not only married women were “covered”, but also the pregnant woman who became pregnant before marriage. The married women came to the “covered girl” or “pokrytka” in Ukrainian (she was called like this by society) and wrapped namitka around her head as she was married. These actions ensured compliance of moral by traditionalist society and, at the same time, had the aim to relieve the psychological state of woman-pokrytka.
According to Tetyana Yevloyeva, formerly, in Ukraine, it was easy way to find out age, social and property status of the woman by her headdress and its pattern. Even the fertility, which means ability to conceive and to give birth to a child, and her intends of doing this was shown with her headdress.
Tetyana also answered the audience’s questions, many of them were asking about the things which didn’t touch the lecture topics directly. During the informal discussion, the audience admitted that a lot of them did not know a lot about the traditions of their nation, and, even more, they were steeped in prejudice about the quasi oppressed status of the Muslim women, but agreed that men respected a woman dressed modestly, not provocative but in good taste more. The meeting lasted more than one hour and a half – much more than it was planned, and, according to the request of those present, soon, it will be held again - this time with a real master class in knitting of the traditional Ukrainian namitka and the Arab headscarf.
The head of the Centralized Library System of the Pecherskiy district of Kyiv Olena Chulayevs'ka, her deputy Lyudmyla Vavdichyk and the Head of Turkic Department Liubov Bila thanked the lector on behalf of all those who attended the meeting.