What Does The Sunflower Mean To Ukraine?

What Does The Sunflower Mean To Ukraine?

Charis Gambon March 4, 2022

Where did the use of the sunflower stem from?

You may have seen sunflowers popping up all over social media and the internet and wondered what they are signifying. The sunflower is Ukraine’s national flower and is deeply important to the Ukrainian people. In recent times, the sunflower has become even more important to the country. It is becoming a global symbol of solidarity, viewed as a way to signify that you stand with Ukraine.

People have been seen holding sunflowers or wearing them at demonstrations across the globe as a way to signify that they support Ukraine and its people. Sunflowers have also been drawn by artists in a show of unity. Additionally, people have been posting sunflowers in their social media stories and at the end of messages of hope.

The sunflower became more significant after a video appeared online showing a Ukrainian woman berating Russian soldiers, telling them to put sunflower seeds in their pockets so that flowers would grow after they died in battle. The video has become widely shared on various social media platforms. The video was posted by Ukraine World. The BBC later published a version of the video online with subtitles.

Sunflowers symbolize adoration, loyalty and longevity with most of the meaning stemming from the sun itself. Sunflowers are known for being “happy” flowers. In the context of the war, they signify that Russia will not crush Ukraine’s spirit.

What is Ukraine’s background with the sunflower?

Ukraine is covered with fields of sunflowers after it was introduced from North America in the 1800s. Sunflower seeds were brought back to the old world by explorers. They were later found to grow well in hot, dry places with rich soil, such as the “Black Earth” regions of Ukraine.

Ukraine is currently one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of sunflower seeds and sunflower oil.

Sunflowers within folk imagery represent the warmth and power of the sun, which was worshipped by pre-Christian Slavs. The Orthodox Church is also part of the Ukrainian sunflower story. During Lent, believers were banned from using butter or lard for cooking. Since sunflower oil has a fairly modern arrival date into the Ukraine, there were no specific religious restrictions using the oil. As a result, the use of sunflower extracts in Ukraine grew considerably.

In the 1990s, the use of sunflower oil quickly became popular as it was viewed as healthier. As a result, even more fields were planted within Ukraine.

How can you use the sunflower to show your support?

You can use the sunflower to support Ukraine in a variety of ways.  If you are an artist, you could produce sunflower artwork in the Ukrainian colours of blue and yellow and donate the money to a charity that helps with the crisis. For charity ideas, please see my previous article on how to help Ukraine.

You can wear sunflower clothing or items when you go out in public, particularly to any demonstrations of support for Ukraine. You can also simply use the sunflower as an emoji on your social media accounts as a way to keep the conversation going. Many celebrities such as US first lady Jill Biden and ‘Outlander’ actress Caitriona Balfe have publicly worn or carried the national flower of Ukraine to express their support.

Read next: The Russia-Ukraine crisis explained

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Hi my name is Charis, I am a MA History of Warfare student at University of Birmingham. I have always enjoyed writing and I enjoy researching and writing about history, life, television, film and culture. I also enjoy new opportunities.