Ukrainian Unity Day (Den Sobornosti) is an important historical event in Ukraine. It goes back to the date when Eastern and Western Ukraine were united. On this day in 1919 the “Treaty of Unity” between Ukrainians was signed and the unity of all Ukrainian lands previously belonging to the Russian Empire (UNR) and the Austro-Hungarian Empire was solemnly proclaimed on Sofijivska Square in Kyiv. “Den Sobornosti” is the symbol of territorial and spiritual unity of Ukraine as a unified sovereign state.
Every year, on January 22 Ukrainians unfold a giant National Flag during a meeting to mark National Unity Day in Kiev, Dnipropetrovsk, Lviv, Kharkiv, Donetsk and other cities of Ukraine.
Last year civic activists in Kiev, (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.
There were about 1500 people, holding hands as a sign of unity and forming a “human chain” along the length of the bridge.
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.
This year, 2014, with all events going in Ukraine and Kyiv “Den Sobornosti” or a Unity Day is symbolic. No parties, no leaders, just Ukrainian people standing for their freedom.