Today, on May 16, Ukraine celebrates an amazing holiday - Europe Day. It is surprising mainly because our state is the only state in the world that, not being a member of the European Union, celebrates unity with European countries annually. Usually the holiday was calebrated loudly, cheerfully, widely. Now, in the conditions of coronavirus, of course, it will be a bit different.
How was Europe Day in Ukraine established?
Europe Day in Ukraine appeared in the calendar of public holidays over 16 years ago.
On April 19, 2003, then-President Leonid Kuchma, taking into account the country's strategic course towards European integration, decided to celebrate Europe Day in Ukraine annually on the third Saturday of May.
By the same document, the Ukrainian government and local authorities pledged to ensure the organization and holiday in all corners of the state, and the State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, provided coverage of the celebration in the media.
The holiday itself began to be perceived as a symbol of the unity of Ukraine with other European countries - a day of peace, shared values, a common history of all the nations of the continent.
It so happened that in 2020 the third Saturday of May is May 16.
Peculiarities of celebration of Europe Day in Ukraine
In ordinary, non-lockdown time, the celebration of Europe Day in Ukraine was traditionally opened with a solemn ceremony in Kyiv.
Also, the so-called European town was being built for this day in the capital. It consists of pavilions representing Ukraine, each EU member state, the European Commission and international organizations.
The pavilions showed geography, culture, the history of the largest cities of the EU member states, organized public debates with ambassadors and representatives of the Ukrainian authorities, held quizzes on European topics and language courses, set up “corners of national dishes” and much more.
In addition, during the official opening of the Europe Day celebration, meetings were held between Ambassadors of EU member states with representatives of local authorities, students and teachers of local universities, representatives of non-governmental and public organizations, and the media.
Similar events were also held in other cities of Ukraine, both large and small.
How Europe Day is marked abroad?
It is important to mention that abroad Europe Day is celebrated differently than in Ukraine. And the essence of the holiday itself is somewhat different. It is also a day of celebration of unity and peace between European countries, but in general there are two separate Europe Days:
one of them is dedicated to the establishment of the Council of Europe, which took place on May 5, 1949;
the other is in memory of the Schuman Declaration of May 9, 1950, which became the basis for the creation of a new organization of states in Europe, the predecessor of the European Union.
Accordingly, they are celebrated on May 5 and 9.
These days, all representative offices of the Council of Europe and the European Union have the so-called open day. Everyone can go in the institution, learn about how and why it works, take part in thematic discussions and other events held there, including excursions.
At the same time, the official symbol of the holidays are the flags of European states, including Ukrainian flag.