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Day of Ukrainian Writing and Language: History, traditions, features of holiday

Source : 112 Ukraine

A radio dictation of national unity is held on the Day of Ukrainian Writing and Language
09:12, 9 November 2021

Day of Ukrainian Writing and Language
112 Agency

Ukraine annually marks the Day of Ukrainian Writing and Language on November 9. According to the Orthodox calendar, it is a day of commemoration of the Reverend Nestor the Chronicler - a follower of the creators of Slavic writing Cyril and Methodius. And the main tradition of the holiday is the national radio dictation for all comers. Now, let's take a closer look.

History of the holiday

Up to this day, scientists have been researching the origins of Ukrainian writing. There is a version that there were several of its variants across the territory of Ukraine. In the northern Black Sea region, people used an alphabet that looked similar to Greek and Latin ones, and in eastern regions, Sarmatian badges that had similarities to the Georgian alphabet were applied.

The ancient Slavs had two alphabets at the same time: Glagolitic and Cyrillic. At the same time, the Glagolitic alphabet still has no analogs. Presumably, this alphabet was invented by the Slavic educator Cyril the Philosopher to record liturgical texts.

National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Modern literary Ukrainian language appeared in the XVIII century. Kotlyarevsky's " Eneida" is considered to be the first piece written with the use of it. But Taras Shevchenko was the one who consolidated Ukrainian spoken language in the literary works.

On November 9, 1997, President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma issued a decree marking the Day of Ukrainian Writing and Language in support of public organizations’ initiative and considering the important role of the Ukrainian language in the process of Ukrainian society's consolidation.

The holiday also coincides with the day of honoring the memory of Nestor the Chronicler, who is known as a follower of the creators of Slavic writing, Cyril and Methodius, and the author of the first chronicle describing the history of Kyiv Rus.

Features of the celebration

Earlier there was a tradition: on November 9, parents took their children to school, and then went to church: put a candle in front of the image of Nestor the Chronicler and pray that he would help the child in his studies.

Nestor the Chronicler, illustration
Open source

Traditionally, on the Day of Ukrainian Writing and Languages, people lay flowers at the Nestor Chronicle’s monument, celebrate the best popularizers of the Ukrainian word and encourage publishers, who publish literature in the Ukrainian language. There is also an International Competition in the Ukrainian language named after Petro Yatsyk that starts on November 9.

First, participants compete at the school level. After that, there are district level, regional level, and the final stage is the national level. Foreigners who speak Ukrainian can also participate in the competition. Winners receive valuable gifts and cash prizes.

Since 2000, on November 9, Ukrainian Radio broadcast live an All-Ukrainian Dictation of National Unity, which can be written by anyone. 

The number of participants in the speech flash mob is growing with each year. Traditionally, well-known people, politicians, artists, schoolers, and students are involved in writing dictation.

Some interesting facts about the Ukrainian language

The volunteer movement "Language - DNA of the Nation" has published interesting facts about the Ukrainian language.

  • In 448, the Byzantine historian Priscus of Panium, while in the camp of the Hunnic ruler Attila on the territory of modern Ukraine, wrote down the words "honey" and "strava". This was the first mention of Ukrainian words. The modern Ukrainian language has about 256,000 words.
  • In the Ukrainian language, unlike other East Slavic languages, the noun has seven cases, one of which is vocative.
  • In the Ukrainian language, the largest number of words begins with the letter "P". The least used letter of the Ukrainian alphabet is the letter "F".
  • There are many synonyms in the Ukrainian language. For example, the word "горизонт" (horizon - ed.) has 12 synonyms.
  • The Ukrainian language is rich in diminutive forms. Even the word "enemies" ("vorohy") has a diminutive form - "vorozhenky".
  • The names of all baby animals are neuter nouns: calf, kitten, toad.
  • Up to the middle of the 19th century, the Ukrainian language was often called "Ruska mova".

It is noted that the oldest Ukrainian song, the record of which has survived to this day, is the song "Danube, Danube, why you flowing sad?" And Shevchenko's "Zapovit" (Testament) is a literary work that has been translated into 147 languages of the peoples of the world.

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