Heroes’ Day of Ukraine

Every year on May 23, Ukrainians celebrate an unofficial holiday – Heroes’ Day of Ukraine in honor of Ukrainian fighters for freedom and independence.  On this day, Ukraine honors the memory of all the heroes who defended its sovereignty and independence and are currently fighting against the russian army for our freedom. It is a proud and yet somber holiday – many Ukrainian heroes have paid with their lives for the sake of their country.

Read and speak about Heroes Day in Ukraine.

Level B1/B2

Heroes’ Day of Ukraine – the History of the Holiday

Heroes’ Day on May 23 was established in 1941 by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). This day was chosen deliberately: on May 23, 1938, Colonel of the Army of the Ukrainian National Republic (UNR), statesman, military and political figure Yevhen Konovalets was assassinated. He was one of the main ideologists of the Ukrainian insurgent movement.

Starting from 1992, the holiday became increasingly popular. On Heroes’ Day, everyone who fought for Ukrainian independence at the risk of their lives is congratulated, and tribute is paid to the fallen. The date is dedicated to all Ukrainian warrior-knights of Kyivan Rus, Cossacks of the Hetmanate era, insurgents, Ukrainian Sich Riflemen, and soldiers of the UNR and UPA armies, as well as the soldiers of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) and the russian-Ukrainian War.

Heroes’ Day Observance

Heroes’ Day is usually celebrated throughout the week following the holiday. For convenience, mass events are often moved to the nearest Saturday and Sunday to the date.

Traditionally, on May 23, in Kyiv, a requiem service and the laying of flowers take place near the memorial sign of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes, honoring the memory of the fighters for the Independence of Ukraine near the Memorial Wall of St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery.

In many cities, memorial events are held on this day in honor of those who have died in the war, and flowers are also laid at the monuments to the heroes of Ukraine.