Recently, a video showing a Ukrainian woman handing over sunflower seeds to a Russian soldier went viral.
Sunflower has become a symbol of hope and resistance as the conflicts between Ukraine and Russia continue to rise.
It is also the national flower of Ukraine. But, why and how did it become a significant part of the Ukrainian culture?
Here’s how the flower is deeply rooted in the nation’s history.
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Why is the sunflower Ukraine’s national flower?
Sunflowers did not originate in Europe. They were originally cultivated in North America around 3000 BC and later brought to Eastern Europe.
Not only did the sunny plant become people’s favorite in Ukraine, but by growing in the country’s hot climate, it also became deeply embedded in their culture when the Church didn’t ban its oil during Lent.
For the unversed, Ukrainian Orthodox Great Lent is a time of abstinence and self-denial from all meat, poultry and their byproducts.
Since then, it became an important aspect of daily life and diet, and people began to grow the sunflower all over Ukraine.
The flower has become an integral part of the Ukrainian tradition as well over the years. They can be found in the yards of village houses or woven into the dresses of women worn during celebrations.
This is why the sunflower is regarded as the national flower of Ukraine.
Woman offers seeds to a Russian soldier
Sunflower has been Ukraine’s national flower for a long time but has been looked at as a symbol of strength and resistance now as the nation is fighting.
Last week, social media users raved about a Ukrainian woman who was seen offering sunflower seeds to an armed Russian soldier as she bravely confronted him.
The women reportedly told the soldier: “Take these seeds and put them in your pockets, so at least sunflowers will grow when you all lie down here.”
The viral clip racked hundreds of thousands of views as people praised the woman for her courage.
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Jill Biden wears a Sunflower mask
All those showing support to the victims in Ukraine in the ongoing conflict are using sunflower emoticons and pictures to show their support on social media.
Today, the First Lady of the United States, Jill Biden, was spotted with a face mask featuring a sunny yellow sunflower embroidered on the side.
Others have shown similar support on Twitter.
One user shared: “When this is over, let’s all plant sunflowers.”
“To support Peace in Ukraine, I am giving away my sunflower images to anyone who needs some for social media or their websites. I know it’s not much, it does show support,” wrote a second user.
Another said: “I grew these from heirloom seeds last season…Sunflowers are the National flower of Ukraine. Let’s start posting them in support of the Ukrainian people.”