On Saturday, 21 November, Ukraine marks the Day of Dignity and Freedom.
The holiday was established in honour of the beginning on this day, which marks two significant and fateful events in the modern history of Ukraine – the 2004 Orange Revolution and the 2013 Revolution of Dignity.
The Day of Dignity and Freedom became a kind of successor to the Freedom Day holiday, which was celebrated in honour of the Orange Revolution on 22 November from 2005 to 2011, but was canceled by a decree of Viktor Yanukovych; instead, he decided to celebrate the Day of Unity and Freedom on 22 January.
It was on 21 November 2013 when Ukrainians started to hold the first protest rallies in response to the decision of the then government, led by Viktor Yanukovych, to stop the country’s movement towards European integration and freeze preparations for the signing of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.
The defence of dignity and freedom in the center of Kyiv led to 106 deaths with more than 2,000 people wounded. In the spring of 2014, Russia’s large-scale military aggression began, accompanied by the occupation of Crimea and certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
On the Day of Dignity and Freedom, traditional memorial events – prayer services, laying flowers, memorial services in churches – will be held throughout Ukraine.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky congratulated Ukrainians on the holiday in his video address.
“We are a wonderful, strong, brave, intelligent, and talented people. An invincible one. Precisely because we have dignity. For us, slavery is humiliation. The loss of freedom is the loss of honour. The loss of honour is the loss of heart. The loss of heart is the loss of soul. And the loss of soul for us is the loss of life. Therefore, we are ready to fight at the cost of our own lives,” he said.
The Head of State noted that this day shows that for Ukrainians, dignity and freedom is a holiday; this is our air.