culture

The feast of the Law of the Land

27.06.2014 | By Leonid Uzvar

This is due to the fact that on June 28 Ukraine celebrates its Constitution Day. And since the date falls on a Saturday, the law orders to move the day off to June 30. Here is a brief history of the holiday and some advice on places to go and things to do

HOW IT ALL BEGAN

On June 28 Ukraine celebrates a national holiday the Constitution Day. On this day in 1996 at the morning session the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the new principal law of the country the first Constitution of the independent Ukrainian state.

Brief historic reference. There were attempts to adopt a constitution in Ukraine since the first years of its independence. In 1992 1993 under the leadership of President Leonid Kravchuk experts created the first draft of the principal law, but it was never adopted.

On June 8, 1995 the branches of authority signed the Constitutional Treaty, on the basis of which the Constitution had to be developed. A special parliamentary commission was created in 1996. On June 27 MPs started examination of the proposed document in the parliament.

MPs worked on the project without leaving the session hall all night from 27 to 28 June. They have taken into account the comments from the President and even supported all the controversial articles of the draft on the state symbols, on the state language, on the right of private property, and then the main law was finally approved.

It is believed that the adoption of the Constitution set the legal foundation for the independent Ukraine, its sovereignty and territorial integrity (although it is very difficult to imagine how it helped Crimea in the current situation) and was a major step in ensuring the rights and freedoms of its citizens and contributed to further increase of Ukraines international authority on the world arena.

Since then Ukraine has amended its Constitution several times, either becoming a parliamentary republic (like now) or a semi-presidential republic.

However, in any case, according to the Constitution, the date of adoption of the principal law June 28 is a national holiday and a day off for all Ukrainian citizens called the Constitution Day.

CELEBRATING THE UNITY

The Constitution Day is not just a holiday, but a celebration of the most important step, which our country took on the way to its independence and guaranteeing of civil and human rights. This day is traditionally celebrated on a grand scale.

On June 28 all over Ukraine you may see numerous official events, organized and held by representatives of city administrations and government bodies. Politicians will give speeches, hold meetings dedicated to the Constitution and do other stuff. On this day, representatives of authorities usually start celebrations laying flowers to the monuments to Pylyp Orlyk (11 Pylypa Orlyka St. in Kyiv), Mykhailo Hrushevsky (on the corner of Volodymyrska St. and Shevchenko Blvd. in Kyiv) and Taras Shevchenko (in the park near Lva Tolstoho metro station). June 28 is a day for commemoration of the outstanding Ukrainian leaders, including those who took part in drafting of the first Constitution of Ukraine.

In addition to formal events there is entertainment for visitors and residents of the country. As a rule the main event in different cities is a big gala concert during which people may listen to officials and public figures speeches and enjoy performances of Ukrainian celebrities.

Many festivities are held right on the main streets, so on June 28 some roads will be closed for traffic. There will be solemn processions, concerts of Ukrainian and foreign stars, sports and charity events and other entertaining activities. Special attention is paid to concerts and fun games for children.

For example, on June 28 Kyiv will welcome the next stage of the European Triathlon Cup. Athletes will compete in the classic Olympic disciplines swimming (1.5 km), cycling (43 km) and running (10 km). They will start at the Poshtova Square and finish in the Kontraktova Square. Athletes will swim at the Kyiv Water Stadium (the Obolon district).

On the same day Kyiv will host a charity gala concert Shevchenko proROCK dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the birth of the great Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko. The concert, which will take place at two stages in the Olimpiyskiy NSC and will be broadcast online by the First National TV Channel, will involve such Ukrainian celebrities as Iryna Bilyk, TiK band, Ruslana, Taras Chubay, Druha Rika, Jamala, TNMK, Boomboks, Serhiy Babkin, Foma and Mandry band, Komu Vnyz band, Maria Burmaka, opera prima Viktoria Lukyanets and Maryana Sadovska. The money raised for the tickets will be used to finish reconstruction of Shevchenko complex in the Cherkassy oblast.

EVERYONE IS DONNING EMBROIDERED SHIRTS

Ukrainian national attire vyshyvanka (embroidered shirt) is back in fashion. In recent years vyshyvankas became an all-Ukrainian trend. Folk cross-stitch patterns are even used to decorate vehicles and entire buildings.

For example, to the recent inauguration of the 5th President of Ukraine many MPs came wearing embroidered shirts despite the official dress code. And it was noticed by foreign media correspondents accredited to the event.

But unlike politicians, ordinary Ukrainians rediscovered vyshyvankas 20 years ago and their affection for the national piece of clothing has been only growing ever since. On the last day of school year in Western Ukraine not only the students attend ceremonies in vyshyvankas, but also their teachers and parents. Ukrainian businessmen finance renewal and restoration of the old weaving factories, which made embroidered clothes. And Ukrainian started decorating their vehicles with national patterns. You may see such embroidered cars on the streets of Kyiv, Zaporizhzhya, Odesa and Dnipropetrovsk. Stickers with national ornaments for the hoods cost UAH 100. Decoration of the whole surface of your vehicle will cost only UAH 150. And in Dnepropetrovsk national Ukrainian patterns were used to paint a whole building. Ukrainian fashionistas buy embroidered covers for their smartphones, and young moms dress their babies in embroidered crawlers. Animal lovers also joined the trend: embroidered clothing for dogs is sold like hot cakes. Sometimes even cats are dressed in national costumes.

On June 28 you may watch the grand parade of vyshyvankas. Everyone is welcome to join, so it is better to get ready in advance. Go to St. Andrews Descent and buy yourself a lovely Ukrainian embroidered shirt.

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