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Defenders' Day in Ukraine

Defenders' Day was first celebrated in Ukraine on October 14, 2014.

Is Defenders' Day a Public Holiday?

Defenders' Day is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

Ukrainian capital Kiev saw masses of violent anti-government protests in early 2014.
Ukrainian capital Kiev saw masses of violent anti-government protests in early 2014.

Ukrainian Heroes Rewarded

In a press release, President Petro Poroshenko said that the day honors the courage and heroism of defenders of Ukraine's independence and territorial integrity, military traditions and feats of the people of Ukraine.

In 2014, the Ukrainian president presented medals to military personnel. Political and military leaders made public statements that were nationally televised or published online. Some schools held assemblies where students gave flowers to local heroes.

What’s Open or Closed?

As Defenders' Day is such a new national holiday, it’s best to check with the local authorities which services are closed. Some businesses close for the day while others remain open.

Controversial Date

Ukraine was established as its own country in 1991. After years of corruption and little economic growth, Ukraine saw a series of violent protests in February 2014, resulting in the impeachment of former president Viktor Yanukovych. Russia refused to recognize the new interim government and invaded the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine.

In the aftermath of the February demonstrations, also known as the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, pro-Russian and anti-government groups continued to demonstrate in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine, an area commonly referred to as the "Donbass". On 5 September, 2014 the so-called Minsk Protocol, a deal to establish a ceasefire, was signed.

Defenders' Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2014TueOct 14Defenders' DayObservance
2015WedOct 14Defenders' DayNational holiday
2016FriOct 14Defenders' DayNational holiday
2017SatOct 14Defenders' DayNational holiday
2018SunOct 14Defenders' DayNational holiday
2018MonOct 15Defenders' Day observedNational holiday
2019MonOct 14Defenders' DayNational holiday
2020WedOct 14Defenders' DayNational holiday

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