Ukraine marks Day of Defenders and Defendresses
The Day of Defenders and Defendresses of Ukraine is a public holiday celebrated on October 14. It was officially established on October 14, 2014, by a presidential decree entitled “The Day of Defender of Ukraine”. On July 12, 2021, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine renamed the holiday into the Day of Defenders and Defendresses of Ukraine.
The urgent need for this national holiday became acute after the start of Russia’s occupation of Crimea and armed hostilities in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Society and the state had to show worthy respect for the unprecedented courage and bravery of Ukrainian soldiers on the front line and hundreds of lives given for the Motherland.
The date of October 14 was chosen not by chance. On this day, Ukraine also marks the Intercession of the Theotokos, and the Day of Ukrainian Cossacks was established in 1999.
From ancient times, the Most Holy Theotokos was a patron of the Ukrainian Cossacks and all Ukrainian armed groups.
It was on the feast of Intercession of the Theotokos that the Great Council was held in Ukraine, at which the hetman was elected. The image of a Cossack as a Ukrainian knight and defender of his native land resonates with every Ukrainian.
Already in the 20th century, the Cossack traditions of the struggle for independence of Ukraine were taken over by soldiers of the Army of the Ukrainian People's Republic and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. And it is no coincidence that the feast of Intercession of the Theotokos was chosen as the day of the official creation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. Thus, it is quite logical that the ancient heroic past of Ukraine connects with the heroic present on this day.
This year, Ukraine marks both holidays in the conditions of Russia’s full-scale invasion. Ukrainians around the world plan to hold rallies as part of the #DefendingUkraine global campaign dedicated to the Day of Defenders and Defendresses of Ukraine from October 14 to 16. The rally participants plan to create a "Circle of Defense" around monuments, buildings or recognizable structures in their cities, as if protecting what is inside (a symbol of freedom or democracy). This is intended to figuratively show how brave Ukrainians are currently defending the values of the entire civilized world on the front line
In addition, the annual Military Run UA race will be held on October 14-16.
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