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Friday, August 24, 2012

The Holiday of Ukraine’s National flag

Ukraine's National flag

Ahead of Independence Day on 24 August Ukraine celebrates the Holiday of the National Flag.

The blue-yellow official flag of Ukraine was officially adopted for the first time in 1918 by a short-lived Ukrainian People’s Republic. The commonly used flag turned at that time to blue-yellow one with the golden trident on it, which is the ancient symbol used on Ukrainian territories since the times before Christianity. During the time of ruling of Ukrainian Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky and then at the times of Directorate of Ukraine (1918-1919) this flag remained almost unchanged. After the Soviet state was established, the authorities have been used the red Soviet flag (flag of Ukrainian SSR) and later also red and blue flag as the official flag of USSR. The traditional blue-yellow flag was officially restored in Ukraine in 1992 after getting Independence from USSR.

The Constitution of Ukraine declares that the official national flag of the country is a banner of two equally sized strips of blue and yellow colors. The Day of Ukrainian National flag is celebrated on 23 August.

The meaning of the colors of Ukrainian flag has a long history of different interpretations, but the most popular and common version says the blue color above symbolizes the blue sky and the yellow color is a symbol of Ukraine’s wheat fields. It is also known that those colors have been already used as the symbols of this land in the times of Kiev Rus, even before Christianity was brought to the country. The pagan culture was very wide and rich on these territories, and the rests of it are still to be found even in the modern culture and people’s collective mind. Yellow color in the pagan mythology has the meaning of the sun, fire and land, and the blue one means water and sky. The both colors together are the symbol of the nature’s harmony.

Halych-Volyn flag (late Kyiv Rus)
There was also another interpretation of Ukrainian flag, where the colors changed their places, with yellow color above and blue color under it. This is one of the versions of the national flag which was also used in times of Ukrainian People’s Republic (UNR) in 1917-1921. Yellow symbolizes the golden domes of the churches and blue refers to the water of Dnipro, the main river of Ukraine.

The variant of flag during Ukrainian People's Republic
 times, 1917-1918
According to some historical sources, the starting point of the modern national flag of Ukraine is put in 1848. That time the blue-yellow banner was held for the first time as Ukrainian flag in Lviv (Lemberg) during the Spring of Nations. But this move didn’t have any significant consequences, and the current flag was proclaimed for the first time by Tsentralna Rada (Central Council), the parliament of Ukrainian People’s Republic during the years of the fight for Ukraine’s independence in 1917-1920. The blue-yellow flag was officially adopted in 1918. The colors changed their positions several times.

The variant of flag during Ukrainian People's Republic
times, 1918-1921
After the Soviet Union (USSR) was established, the unified and common red flag was adopted for all the Soviet republics including Ukraine. Ukrainian flag had also the abbreviation “USSR”, and the hammer and the sickle, the symbols of USSR, were also added to it in 1937.

After the World War II all the Soviet republics adopted their own flags instead of the unified red flag. In 1947 Ukraine adopted the red flag with the blue strip on the bottom and with the golden star, sickle and hammer in the left corner. This flag remained the official one during all the Soviet times until the country got its Independence in 1991.

Flag of Ukrainian SSR
Flag of Ukrainian SSR after the World War II
After the collapse of USSR Ukraine together with another post-Soviet countries became an independent state, and the new national symbols of the state were adopted and proclaimed in Ukraine’s new Constitution. The traditional and historical blue-yellow flag was restored as Ukraine’s National flag in 1992.