Warning to any "PC" types out there who are unfamiliar with subtle humor: the following article was written slightly "tongue-in-cheek" but in a lighthearted manner, and should be taken in the spirit in which it was meant.
On the Establishment of a Holiday to Honor Our Esteemed Ruthenian-American Fellow Citizens
Know thyself. Nothing in excess.
Unless you're familiar with little-known cultures in Eastern Europe, you're probably wondering who the Ruthenians are. They are Russians living around the eastern Carpathian Mountains who speak Ukranian and for the most part are Catholic. Some of them settled in America, and this article concerns those who made the long journey across the Atlantic and their descendants. From what I can tell, most of the new arrivals ended up in the urban Northeast, notably in Pittsburgh, but I'll bet there are quite a few in Chicago too. As a matter of fact, I met one of them at a party. He happens to be a professional accordion player. Yeah, I'm sure that's probably an ethnic stereotype, so I should hasten to point out that not all Ruthenians are musicians, and for that matter, there's nothing wrong with making one's living by playing the accordion anyway.
I don't know of any famous Ruthenian-Americans (unless of course my accordion-playing acquaintance has made it big in the folk music circuit) but there probably are some. In any case, I'm sure some American soldiers have been of Ruthenian descent, so one could say that their stalwart service played a part in guarding against the Soviet menace during the Cold War, if not for which we might all have ended up standing in line for rationed toilet paper just like their brethren who remained in Eastern Europe. And I think it's high time that we honored the accomplishments of the Ruthenian-Americans who have thus far been ignored by an indifferent public. It's also a fair bet that some of them were given a hard time when they were fresh off the boat by people who thought their accents sounded funny, so we need an occasion to keep in mind their trials and tribulations over the years. In order to redress this woeful lack, there is an urgent need to designate a place in our calendar to celebrate Ruthenian culture and their unique and vital contributions to America. Since I have been unable to find any agency or authority which specifies when new ethnic holidays get to be, I suppose it's first come, first serve.
Therefore, I hereby proclaim that henceforth, January will be known forevermore as Ruthenian-American History Month. As far as I know, January hasn't been taken yet, and as they say in the commercials, act now because supplies are limited. Besides, oompah bands (complete with accordions, of course) and pierogis are a pretty darn good way to start the year.
While we're at it, I would also like to propose Amish Pride Month, Appenzeller Cultural Month, Circassian Remembrance Month, Lappish History Month, and Volhynian Memorial Month. I haven't decided what months these are going to be, so if anyone has suggestions about what time of year seems especially appropriate, feel free to drop me a line.
If you happen to be a Ruthenian yourself and are interested in cultural resources, you may wish to check out The Carpathian Connection and the Lemko page.
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