Independence Day in Ukraine gives hope

When? August 24.

Where? Ukraine.

The meaning and history. In 1990, one of the most powerful states of the world, the Soviet Union, started its dissolution. Fifteen republics, one after another, declared their independence. Ukraine did it in July 1990, when the Declaration of Independence was created. The Independence Day was celebrated on August, 24 since 1991 as a commemoration of this event and became the main state holiday in modern Ukraine. Its importance is very high today, as the war in Donbass region continues.

How it is celebrated.
Traditionally, a military parade is held in Kiev. The President gives a speech for Independence Day, lays flowers on the monuments to outstanding Ukrainians and takes part in prayer for Ukraine. Holiday concerts and other celebrations take place on Maidan Nezalezhnosti (the main square in Kiev), also in other Ukrainians cities: Lviv, Kharkiv, Poltava. As a rule, great fireworks crown this holiday.

But these days, as Ukraine takes part in a non-declared war, many things have changed. A lot of people protest against the military parade considering that this money could be spent to support the Ukrainian army. Fireworks are forbidden because many Ukrainians are frightened by explosions.

Family traditions.
Oksana Gleba came to Austria in 2009 from the Chernigiv region to study at the Alpen-Adria University. Later she married an Austrian and gave birth to her son Andriy.

“The Independence Day was always a very important holiday for my family”, Oksana tells. “Only a person who was born in the USSR can understand what it means to become sovereign. For me it means to have the possibility to speak your own language and to live in a democratic state”.

Oksana and her husband Markus decided to spend Independence Day in Ukraine: they are driving to Kozelets, Oksana’s hometown. “I know that this year many festivals, exhibitions and events are planned  in Kiev, I hope to visit some of them”, she says. “What I really dream for my homeland is peace and independence. My heart aches with despair that in the center of Europe, in the 21st century, our people are killed by bullets. All Ukrainians hope that the war will end and that Ukraine will become a worthy member of the European Union”. 

Text and photos: Vita Vitrenko, http://ua.today