For decades, the Ukrainian riflemen’s song «Ой у лузі червона калина» has symbolized national resistance and aspirations for freedom. Originating from a 17th-century Cossack song, it was a beloved anthem for Ukrainian Sich Riflemen in WWI

Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, it has become an incredibly popular song in Ukraine and worldwide. 

By Wouter Hagens — Own work, Public Domain

Калина, or viburnum is one of the national symbols of Ukraine, embodying life and death. Its red color is associated with blood and war, but it is also a metaphor of revival and love for Ukraine.

Would you like to find out more about Ukrainian floral symbols? Check out Episode 128 of the Ukrainian Lessons Podcast and practice your Ukrainian!

In «Ой у лузі червона калина», viburnum is synonymous with Ukraine. The lyrics start with the sadness of Ukraine as a bent viburnum and end with a confident statement — Ukraine will be cheered up and viburnum raised

Learn the Ukrainian and English lyrics of this song and enjoy its most popular interpretations! 

Ой у лузі червона калина похилилася

Чогось наша славна Україна зажурилася.

 

Приспів (повторити два рази):

А ми тую червону калину підіймемо,

А ми нашу славну Україну, гей-гей, розвеселимо!

 

Не хилися, червона калино, маєш білий цвіт,

Не журися, славна Україно, маєш вільний рід.

 

Приспів (повторити два рази):

А ми тую червону калину підіймемо,

А ми нашу славну Україну, гей-гей, розвеселимо!

 

Марширують наші добровольці у кривавий тан,

Визволяти братів-українців з московських кайдан.

 

Приспів (повторити два рази):

А ми наших братів-українців визволимо,

А ми нашу славну Україну, гей-гей, розвеселимо!

 

Як повіє буйнесенький вітер з широких степів,

То прославить по всій Україні січових стрільців.

 

Приспів (повторити два рази):

А ми тую стрілецькую славу збережемо,

А ми нашу славну Україну, гей-гей, розвеселимо!

Oh, in the meadow red viburnum bent down.

For some reason, our glorious Ukraine is distressed.

 

Chorus (repeat two times):

But we will raise that red viburnum!

And we will cheer our glorious Ukraine up, hey-hey!

 

Do not bend low, oh red viburnum, you have a white flower,

Do not worry, glorious Ukraine, you have free people.

 

Chorus (repeat two times):

But we will raise that red viburnum!

And we will cheer our glorious Ukraine up, hey-hey!

 

Marching forward, our fellow volunteers, into a bloody fray,

To free our brother Ukrainians from Moscow shackles.

 

Chorus (repeat two times):

And we will liberate our brother Ukrainians,

And we will cheer our glorious Ukraine up, hey-hey!

 

When the stormy wind blows forth from the wide steppes,

Then it will glorify the Sich riflemen throughout Ukraine.

 

Chorus (repeat two times):

And we will preserve riflemen’s glory

And we will cheer our glorious Ukraine up, hey-hey!

Андрій Хливнюк, frontman of a popular Ukrainian band Бумбокс, sang this song near the St. Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv while patrolling the capital in the ranks of territorial defense. His performance became so popular that The Kyivness created a lively remix.

«Ой у лузі червона калина» unites Ukrainians and locals abroad. In Lithuania, Ukrainian refugees and Vilnius citizens sang this song on the main square of the capital while Poles even performed it in a Catholic church in Warsaw.

Also, enjoy Pink Floyd and Ukrainian servicemen’s renditions of the song with unique footage of Ukraine!

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You can find more popular Ukrainian songs and their lyrics with translation in our category Songs!


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Milana Sribniak

Привіт! Мене звати Мілана. I am a Ph.D. student in History and the Ukrainian Lessons content manager. I love traveling, playing the piano, and watching masterpieces of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

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