At the end of August, Kharkivites celebrate two more holidays than other Ukrainians. In addition to the 30th anniversary of the Independence of Ukraine and the National Flag Days, residents celebrated Kharkiv City Day and the 78th anniversary of the City’s Liberation from Nazi occupation.
On the occasion of the 78th anniversary of Kharkiv Liberation Day, the Memorial Complex of Glory hosted remembrance events. In the morning, the flower laying ceremony and praying to the memory of WWII victims took place there. In addition to traditional celebrations, the Memorial also hosted a theatrical performance dedicated to the war years.
For annual celebrations regarding the National Flag Day of Ukraine, a blue and yellow flag was hoisted on the tallest in Ukraine, a 102-meter flagpole on Serhiivska Square.
Later, the Vyshyvanka parade devoted to the National Flag Day took place in the Kharkiv downtown that was attended by more than 1,500 Kharkiv residents and city guests.
Participants marched through the city center from Maidan Konstytutsii (Constitution Square) to the Shevchenko monument along Sumska Street. They carried national flags, flowers and sang Ukrainian songs.
Kharkivites joined the event with their kids. Most were dressed in embroidered shirts or jewelry in the national style.
According to the parade’s coordinator, the leader of the city organization “Svoboda” (Freedom) Oleh Debely, such action was organized for the sixth time. “Today is a kind of record as the event gathered the record number of people. It demonstrates that Kharkiv is a Ukrainian city,” he noted.
Oleh Debely also stressed that this is not a political action. “We are not against something or someone, we are for united Ukraine, for respect of the Ukrainian flag, which unites millions of Ukrainians,” he added.
The celebrations finished with festive fireworks and performances of Ukrainian singers on Maidan Svobody (Freedom Square).
On August 24, Kharkiv joined the anniversary celebrations of the Independence Day of Ukraine. The festive program started with a flower laying at the Flying Ukraine Monument of Independence. The ceremony was attended by Kharkiv authorities, servicemen in the east of Ukraine, clergy as well as other Kharkiv residents.
“What is Ukraine for me? It is sort of hard to explain. This is something big like a family, like a mother for sure. Something very dear. And you feel that you cannot live without it,” says Kharkiv resident Vladyslav.
A big ” Vinok Ukrayiny” (Wreath of Ukraine) flash mob took place on Maidan Svobody. More than 350 young talents from Kharkiv participated in it. All of them presented a theatrical performance in a single rhythm that demonstrated the beauty and bright future of Ukraine.
In the evening, Ukrainian patriots held the Defenders of Ukraine March in Kharkiv downtown. Veterans of ATO and Joint Forces Operation and Ukrainian patriots took part in the event. The column was led by relatives of perished soldiers who carried photos of fallen fighters. Participants marched from Maidan Konstytutsii to the Taras Shevchenko monument. According to Kharkiv National Police, about 800 people took part in the event.
The participants chanted “Glory to Ukraine – Glory to the Heroes!” “Ukraine is above everything else” and others.
Reaching the monument to Taras Shevchenko, the marchers honored the memory of the fallen heroes with a minute of silence and lit yellow and blue flares.
Kharkiv patriots organized the Independence Day rally. The participants drove through the main city streets by cars with Ukrainian symbols. About 10 cars and one motorbike took part in the rally. The bike’s owner Dmytro says that he was waiting for buying his vehicle to participate in such events.
“Now there is an opportunity and desire to support other motorists with a pro-Ukrainian position. We would like to show that there are many Ukrainians in Kharkiv, people who fully support independence with their actions,” says Dmytro.
Text: Natalia Ivanova
Photo: izvestia.kharkov.ua, redpost.com.ua, telegraf.com.ua, www.objectiv.tv, kharkov.comments.ua