The holiday was officially established in 1999, taking into account the great political and historical significance of the unification of the UPR and WUPR for the formation of a single Ukrainian state. In 2011, the Day of Unity was merged with the Freedom Day, celebrated earlier on November 22, into the Day of Unity and Freedom of Ukraine. However, in 2014, President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree restoring the holiday as the Day of Unity of Ukraine.
This year, in the centennial of the signing of the Unification Act, this holiday is celebrated under the slogan "Together of our own free will since 1919."
In the modern Ukrainian national calendar, the date of January 22 occupies one of the leading places and has a deep symbolic meaning - the eternal dream of Ukrainians for free life in an independent and united state.
On January 22, 1918, the Universal of the Central Rada proclaimed the independence of the Ukrainian People's Republic. A year later, on January 22, 1919, an Act of Unification of Ukrainian lands into a single Ukraine was declared on Sofiyska Square in Kyiv. The two former UPR and WUPR, formed after the collapse of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian Empires, were united into a single Ukrainian state.
However, the unification of Ukraine was purely symbolic. A few weeks after the proclamation of the Unification Act, the Bolsheviks seized Kyiv, the Poles later occupied Eastern Galicia, and the Czechoslovakia took control of Transcarpathia.
The first celebration of the Unity Day took place on January 22, 1939, in Carpatho-Ukraine (the town of Khust), then the autonomous republic of Czechoslovakia. On that day, 30,000 people arrived in the capital of Carpatho-Ukraine from all parts of the region to hold a manifestation under blue and yellow flags and recall the events of 20 years ago.
A vivid example of unity, the will of the Ukrainian people to freedom was a human chain organized by the patriotic forces on January 21, 1990, to mark the 71st anniversary of the proclamation of the Unification Act. Millions of Soviet Ukrainians were holding hands from Kyiv to Lviv, celebrating the Day of Unity.
Since then, Ukraine has seen human chains on a number of occasions, symbolizing the unity of the Ukrainian people. The Day of Unity is now celebrated at the state level every year.
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