On August 23, Kharkivites observed the National Flag Day and the city day; and today the Independence Day is widely celebrated in the city and the region.
In the morning August 23, the city and regional authorities took part in a solemn ceremony near the stele with the National Flag on Prospect Nezalezhnosty. There were old and young war veterans, ATO combatants, Armed forces representatives and volunteers among the participants who laid flowers to the stele and greeted each other.
Later, a concert in the Opera House for the Kharkiv veterans and respectable city residents was arranged to honor four new holders of Honorary Citizen of Kharkiv title. Among those awarded was 92-year-old professor and survivor of Nazi concentration camps Ihor Malitsky.
Also, Kharkiv human rights advocate Yevhen Zakharov reminded that this day since 2009 is observed as the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism. The date was chosen because of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between the USSR and Nazi Germany, which was signed on August 23, 1939, and divided Europe into designated German and Soviet spheres of influence.
At 7 p.m. Kharkiv activists and some political parties held a mass patriotic march for National Flag Day from the Constitution square to Shevchenko monument. This traditional annual march is called Vyshivankova Hoda as its participants put on Ukrainian national embroidered shirts — vyshyvankas. Since 2014 the “embroidered march” has become for many Kharkivites a uniting demonstration of their love to Ukraine and willingness to protect it.
Yesterday there were a lot of young people and families with little children walking along Sumska street in their embroidered costumes, singing the anthem of Ukraine and enjoying themselves.
Today Kharkiv is celebrating the Independence day, about 1500 festive official and unofficial meetings take place all over the region and the city near the monuments and in the parks. The social networks are inundated with greeting and hopes for the country’s prosperity. In the evening Okean Elzy group concert is held at the Kharkiv Metalist Stadium.
Text: Olena Sokolynska
Photo: Leonid Logvinenko, Hryhoria Kostiv, Olena Sokolynska