Saturday, July 7, 2012

Kennywood's Nationality Days: Carpatho-Russian Day

"What the heck is 'Carpatho-Russian Day'?"

One of the many responses when I tell people over the phone about the picnic of the day when this date comes up.  The same thing happens with Slovene Day -- "What the heck is a Slovene?!" It's amazing how culturally unaware people can be.

Even sadder -- how culturally ignorant they don't mind being.

I'll admit, I wasn't too positive on what "Carpatho-Russian" meant myself, but I felt the need to do some research.  I will give you this summary: "Carpatho-Russian" (or "Carpatho-Rusyn") refers to areas in the Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary dominated by what is commonly known as the Russian Orthodox religion, with nearly half of its parishes in the United States located in Pennsylvania.  In fact, the Carpatho-Rusyn Society purchased the former Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Munhall in 2004 and have turned it into a cultural center for people to learn more about their heritage.  For more detailed information, please visit their website.

Map of Carpatho-Russians (via Carpatho-Rusyn Society Website)
 Given the areas that this culture covers, I wasn't sure what to expect when I visited their Ethnic Kitchen in Pavilion 4.  I'm very familiar with Polish and Slovak foods, being Polish and Slovak myself, but I wasn't sure of how similar the foods would be to what I already knew.

Pavilion 4, where all Ethnic Kitchens are held on Nationality Days (behind Garfield's Nightmare)

Carpatho-Russian Day Menu

 Turns out, they are exactly the same!  It's like having another Polish or Slovak Day - and I don't think even those of us who work there realized it!  The spellings of the words may be a bit different than what people may be used to, but they are the same foods -- pirohi ("pierogi"), halushki ("haluski"), halupki ("stuffed cabbage"), etc. 

Pirohi (potato & cheese)
I had never heard of "palacinki" before, but it was sweet and delicious -- I chose the apricot filling over the strawberry option, and was not disappointed: 

Apricot Palacinki
 All of this food cost only $6.00 -- well-worth it for homemade foods that filled me up!  A deanery of 5 churches works together to make this food possible, and their efforts resulted in some tasty rewards!  The volunteers and priests that were serving the food were super-nice and eager to share the food that they had taken such care to prepare.

In addition, on display were some artifacts relevant to the culture, with some explanation as to their significance:

Carpatho-Russian Artifacts
The next Ethnic Day is Irish Day (July 11th), kitchen :-( After that is the big one - Italian Day (July 17th) - with Slovak Day (July 19th) and Serbian Day (July 2oth) following later in the same week.

I'm going to be so full!  Yay!  Will you be joining me?

Please visit the following sites for more information on Kennywood Park.  For information on coupons and discounts for Ethnic Days, click here, and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Kennywood Park
4800 Kennywood Blvd.
West Mifflin, PA 15122


1 comment:

  1. Maybe next year they can have a Mexican Day . We could have James pull up to Pavillion 4 with "Diablo Roja"(Pgh taco truck) . Wat say you?