Ukrainian Easter Bazaar draws large crowds on Palm Sunday | Florham Park Eagle News

ByJames I. Robertson

Apr 19, 2022

After Palm Sunday services at St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Whippany on Sunday, April 10, many people made their way to the side of the Ukrainian American Cultural Center in New Jersey for the Easter Bazaar.

More than a dozen vendors thronged the cultural center, with various Eastern European dishes served and sold at a market near the front. Ukrainian flags, mugs, shirts, crowns, paintings and dolls, among other items, were sold throughout the bazaar.

Osoles Cheren, one of the vendors from Cleveland, Ohio, sold Ukraine-themed merchandise to help support the war effort. Cheren said he donates his profits to the Ukrainian Cultural Center to help relieve the people of Ukraine.

“Putin is the reincarnation of Hitler and Stalin; it’s the same story,” Cheren said. “There is absolutely no value in human life. It’s between good and evil, and good always outweighs evil.

Cheren went on to say that there would be many saddened Russian mothers, mourning the loss of their sons.

“What are Russian soldiers? said Cheren. “They are 18-year-old conscripts.”

Union Ukrainian-American Lesia Gensior keeps a “Pray for Ukraine” sign on the dashboard of her car which she made from paper, staples and cardboard. Gensior told the bazaar that she often attends rallies in support of Ukraine whenever she can, such as those in New York and Washington, DC.

“I would rather my dad was alive, but I’m glad he isn’t, so he doesn’t have to see this war in Ukraine,” Gensior said. “It would have broken his heart to see what is happening right now.”

Mothers of children having their first communion prepared food to sell at the bazaar. Most of the food consisted of sandwiches in an open style called Kanapky, which consists of a piece of bread with various cold meats, cheeses and peppers placed on top.

“It’s not specifically Ukrainian; it’s just more Eastern European,” said Maryana Lane, one of the mothers serving the food. “For example, if you came to Budapest, you would find them, which is what Ukrainians usually eat for breakfast. We also have Mexican dishes.

Other foods include pampushky, which are donuts stuffed with jam, sausage rings, smoked hams, Easter bread with raisins, and cabbage stuffed with meat.

Lesya Haneuko and Tamara Haneuko, twin sisters from Ukraine who moved to America 20 years ago, have sold their hand-painted oil and acrylic paintings. Many of their current paintings were in Ukrainian colors, culture and fashion in the spirit of the ongoing war.

“I am myself a journalist; I was one in Ukraine,” said Roselle Park resident Lesya Haneuko. “I have written about culture and education.”

Displayed in the front of her shop, Lesya Haneuko had a painting of a sunflower, the national flower of Ukraine, with a blue sky background. Haneuko said proceeds from this painting are donated to organizations that bring relief to the country.

Maria Kucyna, who oversaw all vendors, said it was up to each vendor to determine how much of their revenue and profit goes to Ukraine. Kucyna said the money from the seller’s fees goes towards reducing the church’s debt.

“We do a lot of community aid here,” Kucyna said. “We always do Palm Sunday and it’s been very successful.”

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