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22 January - Ukrainian Unity Day - Den Sobornosti

Ukrainian Unity Day (Den Sobornosti) is an important historical event in Ukraine, which marks the anniversary of the unification of eastern and western Ukraine in 1919. It is celebrated on January 22 every year. Unity Day is a Ukrainian observance that commemorates the Treaty of Unity signed on January 22, 1919.

The story behind Unity Day dates back to January 22, 1919, when eastern and western Ukraine was united through the Treaty of Unity. Historically, up until 1919, these territories – Ukraine’s People Republic and West Ukrainian People Republic – often belonged to different empires.

The agreement was aimed at creating a unified Ukrainian state, a movement long awaited by the intelligentsia on both sides.

«The territory of Ukraine, divided over the centuries, including Galicia, Bukovyna, Carpathian Ruthenia, and Dnieper Ukraine will now become a great-united Ukraine. Dreams, for which the best sons of Ukraine fought and died for, have come true», – was written in the text of the universal made by the Directorate of the Ukrainian People’s Republic. (source mfa.gov.ua)

On this day Ukrainians unfold a giant National Flag to mark National Unity Day in Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Lviv, Kharkiv, Donetsk and other cities of Ukraine. Several years ago, civic activists in Kyiv, (taking an example from the first “human chain” in Ukraine, which connected Kyiv and Lviv in January 1990), joined each other in a human chain, more than a mile long, on Kyiv’s Patona bridge, connecting banks of the river Dnipro to symbolize the unity of Ukraine’s east and west.

Singing the anthem of Ukraine, accompanied by the drums, two groups of participants moved towards each other. One of the group has been representing the West Ukrainian People’s Republic (ZUNR), and another one has been representing Ukrainian People’s Republic (UNR). In the middle of the bridge a symbolic fraternization took place.

In addition, a blue piece of linen was carried from one bank of the river and a yellow one from another bank. After the “unification” these two linens have formed a Ukrainian blue and yellow flag. Anyone could participate in the action, the only condition was the absence of any party paraphernalia.

According to organizers of the action, their main purpose is to unite Ukrainians under Ukrainian National Flag, but not to separate into political camps. Similar actions took place in many other cities of Ukraine.

This week humanitarian aid will be send to the occupied territories of Donbass. According to Iryna Gerashchenko, there will be 26 vehicles which represent each region of Ukraine. First of all the aid will be delivered to the institutions with the most vulnerable segments of the population – children with disabilities, the elderly, hospitals, hospices, psychiatric hospitals and others.

In Lublin, Poland on January 22, 2015, on the Ukrainian Unity Day the monument to the victims of the Great Famine in Ukraine in 1932-1933 will be opened and consecrated. It is devoted to Ukrainian, Polish and people of other nations who died in the Soviet regime genocide.

On Thursday people are going to organize flash mobs in many Ukrainian cities. Ukrainians will be unfolding flags and sending blue and yellow balloons to the sky. Symbolic Unity Chains (Lantsyuz Yednosti) will be created in Zhytomyr at 13:00, in Kirovohrad at 14:00, in Bila Tserkva at 12:00, Brovary at 14:00, Uzhgorod at 12:00, Cherkasy at 12:00 and many other cities!

Symbolic unity chains in Ukraine