KYIV, Ukraine, January 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Nearly a century ago today (1919), Ukraine's People Republic and West Ukrainian People Republic became one state. The merger of the two republics was marked by a public manifestation of the Unification Act at the Saint Sophia Square, Kyiv. 94 years later, the Ukrainian nation celebrates the remarkable historical event by numerous mass events.
Historically, these halves often belonged to different empires - e.g., prior to the Unification Act the western and eastern territories were under Austro-Hungarian and Russian rule, respectively. The Day of National Unity of Ukraine is one of the biggest holidays in the country. It marks the adjoining of all the lands where the Ukrainian nation resided under single sovereignty and is one of the most important historical holidays alongside Independence Day, celebrated on August 24.
In 2013, themed celebratory demonstrations and concerts, featuring the national colors - blue (for the sky) and yellow (for the fields of ripe wheat), take place not solely in Ukraine, but also in Baltic countries, Canada, and Germany.
The mass events in Kyiv included the traditional human chain, connecting the banks of the Dnipro river - Ukraine's main artery that divides the state into its western and eastern halves. Wrapped in the blue-yellow national flags, participants of the demonstration held hands to symbolize the unity of the two halves of the Eastern European country.
Joining the celebration on January 22, 2013, Ukrainian political elite - the President, as well as the leaders of oppositionist parties Batkivshchyna, UDAR, and Svoboda laid flowers to the monuments of the two most outstanding activists fighting for the unity and independence of the country - 19th century poet Taras Shevchenko and political figure, historian Mykhailo Hrushevskyi.
Curiously, two days earlier - on January 20, 2013, paraders walked down the main streets of Kyiv calling for "United Ukraine - to United Europe!" Additionally, political activists took a map of modern Europe and painted the territory of Ukraine the same color as the countries of the EU.
Remarkably, on January 21, 1990 - on the eve of the Unity Day - a human chain was formed from Lviv in western Ukraine all the way to Kyiv in the central part of the country. At least half a million people participated in the event amidst the upswing of the independence movement in the then-Soviet republic.
SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine