KIEV, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- Ukraine celebrated on Friday the National Flag Day, one of the main symbols of the country.
Flag Day, on Aug. 23, was officially introduced by decree of the second president of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma in 2004. Later, his successor, Viktor Yushchenko, supplemented the decree adding the annual flag-raising ceremony on this day.
Although Flag Day is not a day off in Ukraine, it is traditionally celebrated throughout the country.
On Friday, official celebrations started in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, in Sofia Square with the solemn raising of the flag. The ceremony was attended by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, members of the government, Ukrainian veterans and military personnel of various military branches.
In Odesa in the south of Ukraine, about a hundred people unfurled a 28-meter flag of Ukraine on the Potemkin Stairs, one of the main attractions of the city, in honor of Flag Day. According to the organizers of the event, the length of the flag was not accidental: the country will celebrate the 28th anniversary of its independence on Aug. 24.
Flag Day was celebrated in the town of Kharkiv in the northeast of Ukraine with the skydivers from 12 countries forming a trident - the small coat of arms of Ukraine in the sky above the city.
Workers of the Dnipro City Council in central Ukraine hung out more than 300 blue-yellow flags in the windows of the building. Such a patriotic flash mob on Flag Day has been held by the City Hall since 2014.
"Our flag is one of the main symbols of our country," said Taras Boyko, 27-year-old programmer from Kiev. "I feel proud when I see our flag abroad when our flag is raised at sports events. I would like Ukrainians to be proud of their flag and their country."
Myroslava, a 19-year-old student from Kiev, also takes pride in her national flag.
"I stood here on the Maidan with the flag during the Revolution of Dignity. For me, this is one of those symbols for which people die defending the freedom of my country, so the Flag Day is very important to me," she shared her thoughts.
Svetlana Tkachuk, a 72-year-old pensioner, attended the flag-raising ceremony held in Kiev Friday.
"It's wonderful that we have the opportunity to raise our flag freely. We didn't always have this right. Every Flag Day is another reminder that many people gave their lives for the independence of our country, for the right to live as we want, for the right to raise our flag with pride," commented Svetlana.
"We are Ukrainians, this is our land, our flag and anthem," stated Vasil Dovgy, a 69-year-old university professor from Kiev. "I have tear in my eyes when I see disrespect for our flag. It's like not respecting your own mother. We should be proud of our land and our flag."
The current flag of Ukraine has a long history. According to one version, its colors come from the coat of arms of the Galicia-Volyn principality which existed in the 12th-14th centuries. There is a popular interpretation, according to which the blue color of the flag symbolizes the sky, and yellow - a wheat field. However, this interpretation is not supported by all researchers.
The blue-yellow flag was approved as the national flag of Ukraine on January 28, 1992 by the Ukrainian parliament. And in 1996, his status was enshrined in the Constitution.