The Day of the Defender is an annual celebration held on October 14 in Ukraine. The holiday replaced the ‘Defender of the Fatherland Day’ on February 23 which originated in the Soviet Union. This national holiday honors the rich traditions of the Ukrainian people. It honors the bravery and heroism of those who defended Ukrainian independence, territorial integrity, military traditions, and victories of the Ukrainian people. October 14 is also the anniversary of the formation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and the Day of the Ukrainian Cossacks.
History of Day of the Defender
Day of the Defender is an annual Ukrainian national holiday celebrated on October 14. Volodymyr Viatrovych, the chairman of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance, declared the day as a Ukrainian historical tradition of honoring the Ukrainian army on the day of the Intercession of the Theotokos. The history of this holiday dates back to the 12th century. The Cossacks have also been celebrating it since around the 17th century. They considered the ‘Mother of God’ also known as ‘Theotokos’ to be their patroness. October 14, is also the Ukrainian Cossacks’ Day.
Due to Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine from 2014 to date, and decommunization in Ukraine, the then Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, declared the new holiday, ‘Defender of Ukraine Day’ on October 14, 2014. By March 5, 2015, the Ukrainian parliament approved this decree. The holiday replaced the former Defender of Fatherland Day on February 23, which originated in the Soviet Union.
Ukraine was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union as the Ukrainian S.S.R. from 1922 until its independence on August 24, 1991. On August 24, 2014, on Ukraine’s Independence Day, President Poroshenko announced that Ukraine would no longer celebrate the holidays of Russia’s military-historical calendar, but rather Ukraine would honor the defenders of its homeland. On July 14, 2021, the parliament officially changed the name of the holiday to its current name to explicitly include Ukraine’s female defenders.
Day of the Defender timeline
The Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko marks October 14 as the Defender of Ukraine Day.
The first annual Day of the Defender celebration following the parliament’s approval takes place.
The Day of Defender celebration in Ukraine hits its five-year mark.
The Ukrainian Parliament changed the holiday name to its current name.
Day of the Defender FAQs
Who is Ukraine's president?
President Volodymyr Zelensky is Ukraine’s current President.
When is Ukraine's Independence Day celebrated?
Ukraine’s Independence Day is celebrated on August 24.
Where is Ukraine located?
Ukraine is located in the eastern part of Europe.
How to Observe Day of the Defender
Take a bike ride
Take a Bike ride in honor of Ukraine’s Day of the Defender. Rent out bikes if you don’t have one, and join in the celebration!
Watch documentary films
In honor of Day of the Defender, unwind from the day’s activities by watching documentary films. You can also host a movie night with friends and watch movies like “Myth.”
Post and share about the holiday
On this day, you can make and share social media posts. Share posts of gratitude in appreciation of Ukraine’s fallen heroes and defenders.
5 Interesting Facts About Ukraine
It is large
With 603,628 square kilometers, Ukraine is the largest country on the European continent.
Tunnel of Love
Ukraine is home to a romantic attraction known as The Tunnel of Love in Klevan.
It’s home to Europe’s oldest coffeehouses
Ukraine claims to have invented the European coffeehouse.
Europe’s Bread Basket
Ukraine is one of the largest producers of wheat in the world.
World’s Deepest Metro Station
Ukraine is home to the world’s deepest metro station, measuring 105.5 meters underground.
Why Day of the Defender is Important
It honors its defenders
The Day of the Defender honors the bravery and heroism of Ukraine’s defenders of independence. It also honors the defenders of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
It is gender-inclusive
The Day of the Defender celebrates all regardless of gender. The holiday promotes equality and respect among acting officers.
It honors Ukraine’s fallen heroes
The Day of the Defender honors the memories of the fallen heroes of Ukraine. The celebration honors military personnel who lost their lives in acts of service to their country.
Day of the Defender dates