10 Exciting Ideas for
Celebrating Independence Day 2018

Soon, on August 24, the vіbrant blue and yellow colors of the Ukraіnіan flag will adorn the streets of every Ukrainian cіty to commemorate an important natіonal event: Independence Day. It has been the main state holiday in modern Ukraine since the Declaration of Independence from the USSR was adopted in 1991. On August 24, 1991, Ukraine joined the family of Independent nations worldwide after a centuries-long struggle for sovereignty. Our country has come a long way from being a part of the USSR to independence and Euro integration. I am happy to congratulate all Ukrainians on the 27th anniversary of our independence. On this festive day, we invite our readers to get valuable insights into the colorful world of Ukrainian festive symbols and traditions, and to take an inspiring walk through the most prominent and historically important sights of our beloved capital.

Symbolism & Traditions

Ukraine has a unique and diverse culture based on ancient Slavic traditions and symbols. The national flag colors symbolize the blue, peaceful sky above and yellow wheat fields below. It reflects the special role agriculture has played in Ukraine (once known as the “bread basket of Europe”).
Special attention in Ukrainian art is dedicated to the idealized woman (Berehynia) as a symbol of wellness and fruitfulness, and as the protectress of the home. The traditional picture of Woman-Berehynia is a female with hands raised in warning. In 2001, a column with a monument to Berehynia (also known as the Independence Monument) was constructed atop Independence Square. She holds a branch of the kalyna tree (the natural symbol of Ukraine) and is considered Kyiv’s defender.

Ukrainian traditional dance forms and music mostly come from the Cossack era (15th-18th century). Fast-paced, energetic folk dances (hopak, cossachok) and sentimental songs often represent Ukraine at International festivals. Many people do not know that the world-famous Christmas song “Carol of the Bells” was written by Ukrainian composer Nikolai Leontovich (and is known in Ukraine as “Shchedryk”). The beauty of Ukrainian dances is enhanced by the colorful folk costumes and melodic accompaniment. The bandura, kobza and lira, all national Ukrainian instruments, are commonly used for this purpose

# 1 Kyiv Independence Day Parade

Traditionally, on the morning of August 24, Ukrainians attend the annual military parade on Khreshchatyk Str. and Maidan Nezalezhnosti. Here you will have a chance to watch 250 pieces of equipment and 4.5 thousand of soldiers taking part in the parade.
When? August 24, 10 am
Where? Khreshchatyk Str. and Maidan Nezalezhnosti

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#2 Vyshyvanka Style

It’s hard to find anything more thoroughly Ukrainian than the vyshyvanka – an embroidered shirt that is part of the Ukrainian national costume. It is traditionally adorned with black, red or blue motifs and has its own distinctive design that varies by region. A vyshyvanka is a valuable souvenir that can reveal a lot about Ukraine, its culture, and traditions. Usually, the handmade vyshyvanka will cost $40-$50, rising to more than $600 for exclusive versions. Nowadays it is very popular and stylish to wear vyshyvanka on holidays, especially on Independence Day of Ukraine.

Where to buy? – Narodniy Dim Ukraine (4 Prorizna Str., Khreschatyk metro station).

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# 3 Powerful Spirit of “Pechersk Hills”

Independence Day is a great occasion to scroll around the central Pechersk district, where the main governmental buildings are located. We advise starting your route at Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (our Parliament), admire the beauty of the recently renovated Mariinsky Palace, located nearby, which serves as the official ceremonial residence of the President; then stop for a while at the observation deck, enjoying simply wonderful panoramic views on the left bank of Kyiv, cross the Lover’s Bridge, traditionally covered with many love locks, with its scenic panorama, and finish the walk at the picturesque Saint Volodymyr Hill Park, with its monument to Volodymyr, the king who Christianized Kievan Rus and, according to legend, observed from this spot the mass christening of Kyiv’s citizens.

# 4 “Kyiv Contracts” festival

If you haven’t already decided how to celebrate Independence Day, you’re invited to check out Kontraktova Square for a holiday of culture, traditions, and unity: Kyiv Contracts. It is one of the largest shopping and entertainment festivals of the country, and offers a bunch of activities to enjoy. Start with shopping for accessories or clothes by Ukrainian manufacturers, then move to tantalize your palate with delicious and nutritious dishes by culinary chefs. After that, why not join one of the master classes, say, pottery or body-art? Entrance is free.
Where? Kontraktova Square

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# 5 Absolute Must-try: Cabbage borsch

If you are hungry for new dining experiences it’s time to head to Kanapa, an outstanding restaurant serving modern Ukrainian cuisine, is also famous for its excellent serving of dishes.
Don’t miss: the cabbage borsch; you might be surprised!
Where? 19 Andriivskyi Descent

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# 6 Spiritual Depth of Ukrainian Art

Photo by by Olga Kovtun.
Dotted with beautiful churches, art galleries and souvenir shops, Andriyivsky Descent is a favourite spot for tourists in Kyiv. This extremely beautiful ancient street is adorned with numerous paintings by talented Ukrainian artists presented in the open air and offered for sale on the spot. You will be fascinated by the uniquely creative atmosphere developed by artists and craftsmen, the main inhabitants of these streets.
Where? As you go up the descent, just before Saint Andrew’s Church, turn to the left and you will find an alley fully packed with works of art.

#7 Flower Show

Spivoche pole (33 Lavrska Str. )
The great flower exhibition timed to the holiday will take place on the territory of Spivoche Park on August 17-September 09. This year’s exposition will impress you with numerous unique installations! Moreover, there will be various quests, fairs, an open-air cinema and lots of master classes and entertainment areas. Festive mood, warm smiles, full relaxation and the maximum of enjoyment are guaranteed! Entrance fee: UAH 50 for adults, UAH 25 for kids.

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# 8 Pottery Making

Ukrainians rightfully claim to be among the best in the world at this ancient craft. Masterfully shaped and decorated pots became the symbols of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture (6000-3500 BC), one of the earliest European civilizations. It’s said potters of that time used magic spells to make certain pots and used them in ancient rituals. Plunge your hands into fresh clay and share the pleasure of making pottery with many Kyiv folk-art lovers.

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# 9 Okean Elzy concert

This is the only concert scheduled this year by the legendary, much-beloved Ukrainian band Okean Elzy, and the first concert after an almost year-long pause. The group invites everyone to celebrate Independence Day surrounded by friends enjoying memorable songs, amid an ocean of smiles and heartfelt tears of happiness. Nothing but the energy of Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, unison singing, thousand of flashlights, nothing but music. Entrance fee: UAH 550-3500.
Where? Olimpiysky National Sports Complex (55 Velyka Vasylkivska Str.)

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#10 Boat Trip along the Dnipro River & Independence Day Race

Isn’t it exciting to celebrate freedom watching the sunset from a ship or boat? The cosy, quiet atmosphere is the perfect time for dreaming, relaxing, and enjoying life. Fortunately, the schedule of the boat trips along the Dnipro River lets you watch the sunset as the last boat departs at 8 p.m. and usually lasts 1 hour (weekdays – 150 UAH/person, weekends and holiday days – 180 UAH/person). You can extend your stay on the boat, joining a disco party (8 pm – 11 pm). Ukrainian parties differ from every other party on Earth making for a one-of-a-kind experience.
Where? Poshtova Ploshcha metro station (Blue line), just near Kiev River Port.
Good to know: Especially timed to the holiday, the yacht club Riviera Riverside presents a sailing regatta along the Kyiv quay (noon – 6 pm) and invites you to mark Independence day together along the water.

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