On August 24 Ukrainian state celebrated its 21st birthday. A ForUm's correspondent observed and followed the celebration process in the main street of the country and center of the capital.

Khreshchytyk was ready to welcome guests from early morning. At 9 a.m. people were already walking the street, sellers were setting out their products - ice cream, balloons, beer, and organizers of concerts and sport events were arranging the place and bringing furniture.

The show of huge painted eggs was in the center of people's attention. The eggs were brought from all regions of Ukraine. Some of the eggs got damaged during transportation and artists were fixing them right on the square to soundtrack of young singers. Musicians were preparing to the evening show, holding last rehearsals.

The celebration could not do without some politics. Party of Regions supporters were listening to the President's speech on Sofia square, and opposition forces gathered right in front, on Mykhailivska square, to hold a rally.

Opposition supporters also planned on gathering in Shevchenko Park, but police forces banned the entry so the President could lay flowers to the monument of Taras Shevchenko.

When all governmental vehicles left the Park, the column of the opposition supporters moved to the Shevchenko park to stream the biggest ever flag of Ukraine with several hundreds of Ukrainians holding it.

However, people walking along Khreshchyatyk did not care about politics on this day. Families with children were buying ice cream, balloons and books in Ukrainian.

Some people were watching the basketball championship, other were trying on Ukrainian national shirts, while those who already had one were proud to show it off.

"We came here as a delegation from Ivano-Frankivsk to celebrate this important for our state and people day. We are a young state, but I believe we will grow to maturity. I also believe we will become a part of Europe," a member of the delegation told ForUm.

However, some Ukrainians were sad because not so many people were wearing national shirts."This is a holiday for soul! Except that there are not so many people wearing national shirts. But it is ok. We are members of a folk group. We have national shirts, as we wear them when performing. If I had not been a singer, I would not probably have had a national shirt and would have enjoyed the holiday in casual clothes. Clothes style is not the most important thing. The most important is to be a patriot and love the country, the rest is formality."

"The Independence Day means much for me. First of all, we really got this independence and we feel as a nation, because we are the ancient nation. I am very pleased that my children and grandchildren are dressed in Ukrainian embroidered shirts. We want to continue this Ukrainian tradition, so we put them on each Independence Day. It’s a pity that today few people have come in them. Earlier, the national shirts were more popular, but this tradition has been decaying for the last three years," one of the guests of the festival said.

Some Ukrainians complained that it is difficult and expensive nowadays to buy a national embroidered shirt. "National shirt is a Ukrainian attribute, which must be put on for Independence Day. But this independence is formal and as a matter of fact it does not exist, though there are many enough people wearing embroidered shirts. It is sad, though, that not everyone can afford to buy one. Mine, for example, was embroidered by my wife. Anyway, the clothes you wear to celebrate the Independence Day is not important. It is more important to be Ukrainian and to remember what it means.

"We live in Ukraine, and today is the day of Ukraine, thus we are wearing national shirts. The national embroidered shirt is an ancient symbol of Ukraine. It is an appropriate day to wear it. We are Ukrainians and we must show it. We must buy our goods and support our traditions. If we start thinking about ourselves more and worshiping others less, we will live better," Kyiv resident Serhiy believes.

Tetyana Hryhorieva, photos by Viktor Kovalchuk


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