National Flag Day of Ukraine
What day is it?
It would seem that it is impossible to contain the history, politics and spirituality of the country in one object. However, such a thing exists – it is a state flag, which for each nation is a way to present itself to the world. The flag demonstrates that the country is independent, takes a worthy place among other states, respects its history and cares about the future. Within the state, the national flag unites people in difficult times, and respect for it has always been considered a manifestation of patriotism. The Ukrainian flag is no exception, in honor of which our country celebrates a holiday every year on August 23 — National Flag Day of Ukraine. Our blue and yellow flag is precious to us because of its history, as well as the sacrifices that have been made for it.
How did the idea to celebrate the Day of the State Flag of Ukraine come about?
It is known that flags existed in ancient cultures, but it is impossible to determine exactly where they first appeared. Researchers consider the flags of Ancient China, India during the Mahabharata, Persia during the reign of Cyrus the Great, and the Roman Empire to be the most ancient. Banners were usually used in military campaigns and battles. In the Middle Ages, flags became a way of personal identification – in Europe they were worn by knights, in Japan – by samurai, and in China – by generals of the imperial army.
There is an opinion that national flags actually originate from sailors, because since the time of Christopher Columbus, it was customary to hang flags on the masts that demonstrated the ship’s belonging to a certain country or city, as well as its military or trade status. On land, flags began to be used as a symbol of victory in battle, so each of the warring parties tried to capture the opponent’s flag.
Flags of Russia-Ukraine
For some time, red and white colors dominated the flags of Russia, as evidenced in the “Word about Igor’s Regiment”. Later, especially after the establishment of Christianity, blue and yellow colors became dominant, but there was no single state flag then – each of the flags symbolized the power of a separate prince.
In the 13th – 14th centuries, quadrangular flags with a free end in the form of a wedge appeared on Ukrainian lands, on which yellow and blue colors were combined. Chroniclers witnessed them in 1410 in a battle near the Polish village of Grunwald, which went down in history as the “Battle of Nations” or “Grunwald Battle”.
During the heyday of the Cossacks, the so-called korogva appeared in Ukraine – Cossack flags. In addition to blue and yellow, the Cossacks had red and crimson flags. At the beginning of the 18th century, the blue background of the flags began to dominate, while images of saints, the Virgin Mary, and crosses were depicted on it in gold or yellow colors.
Blue and yellow flags became a symbol of the revival of the Ukrainian nation — first in the west of the country, and later on the left bank and east. Under these banners, individual national corps of our compatriots fought in the battles of the First World War, and they also waved cheerleaders at numerous demonstrations in 1917 – as a symbol of Ukrainians’ hope for national autonomy.
The flag of the Ukrainian People’s Republic
On March 22, 1918, the Central Council of the newly proclaimed Ukrainian People’s Republic established the yellow-blue flag as the national flag. A few weeks later, the flagship of the Black Sea Squadron raised this flag on its mast, and later it appeared in all Ukrainian military units. In November 1918, the West Ukrainian People’s Republic recognized the yellow-blue flag as its state symbol, and on March 20, 1920, Transcarpathian Ukraine.
The times of Soviet power
However, having established itself on the territory of Ukraine, the Soviet authorities replaced our historical flag with a Soviet-style flag — a red cloth with a sickle, a hammer and a five-pointed star in the upper corner. Only the blue ribbon occupying the lower third of the canvas reminded us of Ukrainian flags.
Raising the national flag during the times of the USSR was considered a criminal offense, but this did not stop patriotic Ukrainians, especially young people. Many cases are known when brave people were sentenced to up to 15 years in prison for hanging blue and yellow flags, and sometimes the judges could even issue a death sentence.
Speaking more freely about the Ukrainian flag and defending its national significance began in the late 1980s, when the inevitable collapse of the Soviet system was already felt. In March 1990, deputies of the Ternopil City Council erected a blue-yellow flag over their building next to the flag of the Ukrainian SSR, and in April the Ukrainian flag was hoisted over the Lviv Town Hall.
State sovereignty of Ukraine
On July 16, 1990, Ukraine received the Declaration of State Sovereignty approved by the parliament, and on July 24, the national flag was erected near the Kyiv City Council, again next to the red, Soviet flag. 30,000 people gathered to watch the raising of the Ukrainian flag.
In August 1991, after the coup d’état attempt in Moscow, the Ukrainian parliament met for an emergency session. Members of the “People’s Movement” party brought a blue-yellow banner to the meeting hall, and on September 4, it was installed over the dome of the Verkhovna Rada. At the beginning of 1992, in order to officially approve the colors of our flag, parliamentarians adopted the resolution “On the State Flag of Ukraine”.
National holiday — National Flag Day of Ukraine — we received it in 2004, and its date — August 23 — reminds us of the day when the Ukrainian flag was first brought into the meeting hall of the Ukrainian Parliament.
National Flag Day of Ukraine in history
July 15Ukrainian military formations under yellow-blue flags as part of the army of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were participants in the Battle of Grunwald against the knights of the Teutonic Order.
March 22The Central Council of the Ukrainian People’s Republic approved the yellow-blue flag as the national flag.
MarchIn Ukrainian cities, national flags began to be installed on the buildings of local government institutions.
July 24The Kyiv City Council was crowned with the Ukrainian blue-yellow flag.
January 28The Ukrainian Parliament adopted the resolution “On the State Flag of Ukraine”.
August 23A national holiday — the Day of the State Flag of Ukraine — was added to the Ukrainian calendar of festive events.
Frequent Questions and answers on the Day of the State Flag of Ukraine
In esoteric terms, yellow or gold color is responsible for creative and spiritual energy, and blue for the freedom of choice that all people are endowed with. In ancient Ukrainian traditions, blue and yellow shades mean water and the Sun, as well as the feminine and masculine principles. In the modern sense, the colors of our flag are considered to be symbols of a clear blue sky and a golden wheat field.
The first documentary evidence of such a flag dates back to 1848 – the revolution that began at that time in the Austrian Empire became an impetus for the growth of the national movement in Ukraine, and a blue-yellow flag of a modern appearance, i.e. with two horizontal stripes, appeared for the first time at the Lviv City Hall.
Such a city is Stryi, located in the Lviv Region. On March 14, 1990, a blue-yellow banner was erected there over the administrative building of the city council. At the moment of raising the flag, a key of storks flew over the roof of the building, which was perceived by those present as a good sign.
Among such countries is Sweden, on the blue background of its flag there is a yellow cross. The flag of Kazakhstan has a blue background with a yellow sun, an eagle and a national ornament. The flag of Barbados has two blue stripes and one yellow stripe, with a trident similar to the trident of Poseidon. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Palau also have blue-yellow flags.
These discussions are linked to the hexagrams of the Chinese Book of Changes. The one that corresponds to the current combination of colors on our flag supposedly means decline, and if the colors are reversed, this combination will correspond to another hexagram, which, on the contrary, means prosperity. However, most historians and scientists consider this a groundless manipulation.
How to celebrate the National Flag Day of Ukraine?
Since its inception, this event has managed to acquire stable traditions – every year on the morning of August 23, the State Flag is raised in all cities of our country. The corresponding ceremony was officially approved by the decree of the President of Ukraine in 2009, and since then it has always been attended by representatives of local authorities, various associations and organizations, as well as ordinary citizens. After raising the flags, the festive day usually continues with ceremonial events.
Among such events are concerts, sports competitions, photo exhibitions, flash mobs, master classes on folk crafts, various children’s competitions. By the way, on this day, children should be told about the main milestones in the history of the Ukrainian flag and its importance in the life of the country. Libraries will be happy to help with this – every year until August 23, they prepare thematic book exhibitions on the topic of Ukrainian statehood.
All administrative buildings, enterprises, and offices are decorated with Ukrainian state flags on this day, so the best way to join the national celebration is obvious – you should decorate the roof of your own house, window, apartment balcony or private yard with a blue and yellow flag. People most often spend the evening of this holiday relaxing in friendly companies, because the next day – August 24 – is also a public holiday and a public holiday.
Why is this day important?
Previously, many Ukrainians perceived the national flag as a purely official state symbol representing our country in the international environment. Of course, we knew that the blue and yellow flag had a centuries-old and often tragic history, but in ordinary life we were proud of it mostly during the Olympics and other sports competitions, when its raising meant the victory of our athletes.
The attitude towards our own flag in our country changed with the Revolution of Dignity and the events that followed it. Ukrainians felt that the flag means much more to them – it represents freedom, strength, dignity, victory over the enemy. And now we are used to seeing national flags not only on administrative buildings, but also on the roofs of private houses or balconies of high-rise buildings. This means that the flag really unites the state and allows every citizen to demonstrate belonging to the number of patriots of Ukraine.
National Flag Day is an important event, and it not only emphasizes the significance of this symbol, but also introduces children and youth to the history of the Ukrainian state, as well as teaches them to respect the people thanks to whom our blue and yellow flags can fly freely above us.
When will we celebrate the Day of the National Flag of Ukraine?