Day of the Defender in Ukraine in 2024

Day of the Defender in Ukraine in 2024
Ukranian soldiers on patrol in eastern Ukraine Image by Taras Gren , via Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
  How long until Day of the Defender?
Day of the Defender
  Dates of Day of the Defender in Ukraine
2025 Ukraine Wed, Oct 1 National Holiday
2024 Ukraine Tue, Oct 1 National Holiday
2023 Ukraine Sun, Oct 1 National Holiday
2022 Ukraine Fri, Oct 14 National Holiday
2021 Oct 14, Oct 15
UkraineFri, Oct 15National Holiday (bridge day)
UkraineThu, Oct 14National Holiday

Honours the courage of the defenders of Ukraine's independence and territorial integrity

Defenders and Defendresses of Ukraine Day?

Defenders and Defendresses of Ukraine Day is a state holiday in Ukraine observed on October 14th. If October 14th falls on a Saturday or Sunday, it is observed on the following Monday.

This holiday honours and pays tribute to all those who have fought and continue to fight for the state sovereignty of Ukraine.

Originally named Defender of Ukraine Day, in July 2021 the Ukrainian parliament officially changed the name of the holiday to Defenders and Defendresses of Ukraine Day (Den zakhysnykiv i zakhysnyts) to honour the female defenders of Ukraine. In Ukrainian grammar, zakhysnykiv (defender) is a masculine noun.

History of Defenders and Defendresses of Ukraine Day

A Presidential decree, later approved by the Ukrainian parliament, established this day as a public holiday on October 14th 2014, "in order to honour the courage and heroism of the defenders of Ukraine's independence and territorial integrity, military traditions and victories of the Ukrainian people, foster the further strengthening of patriotic spirit in society and support the initiative of the Ukrainian public." The slogan of the holiday is "Strength of the unbowed".

Defenders and Defendresses of Ukraine Day replaces Defender of the Fatherland Day which was observed on February 23rd. The older holiday was seen as a Soviet holiday and no longer seen as appropriate to celebrate given the ongoing disputes with Russia over territory in eastern Ukraine and Crimea.

The date of October 14th was chosen as on this day, Ukraine marks the Day of the Protection of the Blessed Virgin (the Intercession of the Theotokos).

According to Eastern Orthodox Sacred Tradition, an apparition of Mary the Theotokos occurred during the 10th century at the Blachernae church in Constantinople (Istanbul) where several of her relics (her robe, veil, and part of her belt) were kept.

During the early morning of Sunday October 1st 911 AD, St. Andrew of Constantinople, who was a Slav, saw the Virgin Mary enter the church, surrounded by angels and saints. She knelt and prayed with tears. At this time, the people in the city were threatened by an invasion by the fleet of the pagan Rus. After the appearance of the Mother of God, the danger was averted and the city was spared from bloodshed.

The Feast of the Intercession commemorating the miracle is a feast day of the Byzantine Rite Eastern Orthodox Churches. In Ukraine, it is celebrated on October 14th, which corresponds to October 1st on the Julian calendar used in some Eastern Orthodox Churches.

The Mother of God as the Intercessor and Patron became firmly established among Ukrainians from at least the 17th century with royalty and cossacks choosing the Virgin Mary as their patron and protector.

In 1999, By decree of the Ukrainian President, October 14th was promulgated as Ukrainian Cossack Day.

October 14th is also the anniversary of the creation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) in 1942.

The holiday is marked by concerts, exhibitions, marches, and festivals across Ukraine.

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