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This headdress belonged to my grandmother, who was Ukrainian. My mum gave it to me and I brought it from Ukraine. I am from Mariupol. I don’t know its story exactly, when it was made, or who it belonged to initially, because my grandmother was an orphan and grew up in a family that hosted her, but in reality was treating her like a slave. This was before the October Revolution.

A headdress for weddings, I don’t know why they used to wear black in weddings. After she got married, she lived in Moldova, because my grandfather was Moldovan. Afterwards, they moved to Ukraine, during WWII. My mum was born in Moldova, and so was I.

My mum gave me the headdress when I had children. Whenever I was sick, as a child, my mother would wrap me in this to calm me down, it was as if it was blessed, as if it would carry the grandmother’s energy to calm the baby down. When I gave birth, she gave it to me in case they would get sick, or cry, or they had a bad eye, as we say, to help. We don’t reject medicine or anything like that, it’s something extra. But I’ve never done it, when they would get sick, I would think of medicine, not the headdress.

My grandmother gave it to my mum when I was sick. My mum had three sisters and a brother, but I happened to be the one who was sick, so my grandmother gave it to her.

I had my kids here, I’ve been in Greece since 1995. My father came here for a while, because he is a Mariupol Greek and he wanted to see the homeland of his ancestors. He told me to come as well, provided that I would finish university and get a job. I came here without knowing the language, because I didn’t grow up in the village where they spoke Greek. The procedure to get the nationality was simpler back then, now they have exams and stuff.

When I came here, my dad didn’t stay for long, only four months or so. He used to work in a supermarket back then. I got a job where my father used to work and met my husband there, who was also working in the supermarket. He’s from northern Epirus. I don’t even know if he knows about the headdress! But when he sees things from our parents or grandparents, he always grows sentimental, because family is above all. This has emotional value for me mostly. I keep it as an amulet, as a souvenir from my grandmother. 

My father sold the house they had in Mariupol and my sister took them in at her house in Russia after everything that happened. My sister is in Petroupoli right now. We went there in 2018 for the last time, when my father died.

I have worked as a housekeeper, I used to sew, then I opened an office where I would do translations, but then I gave birth to my second daughter and I couldn’t do both. For many years I haven’t been working. Only occasionally, otherwise it’s impossible. It’s one of the reasons my husband used to work a lot. My oldest daughter is 19 now, and my youngest is 15. My son is 11.

– Ina


Creator of object:
Place / Country of creation:
Year / Era of creation:
Ina Zahara
Type / Description of object:
Black wedding headdress
Object route:
Ukraine (Mariupol) – Moldova – Ukraine (Mariupol) – Greece (Tavros)
Year / Era of movement:
Reason of movement:
License of digital image:


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