Today, on October 14, Ukraine celebrates the Holy Protection of Mother of God, the Day of Defender of Ukraine, Day of the Ukrainian Cossacks and the anniversary of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA).
The Holy Protection of Mother of God
This holiday dedicated to the apparition of Mary, the mother of Jesus, to the believers.
According to the legend, Constantinople, the heart of Orthodoxy, was besieged by hostile forces and the citizens of the city could do nothing but pray for salvation to the Mother of God. She appeared before people and covered them with her cloth (Pokrova), hiding them from the enemy. It is believed that the Mother of God sends love and joy with Pokrova.
Traditions of the holiday
The holiday means the end of the farm works and the beginning of winter.
Usually, the land is covered with leaves or snow on the Holy Protection.
Spinners and weavers start their work on this holiday. The young ladies start to stitch dowry.
Besides, it is considered to be the best time for weddings. People believed that the family created this day would be the happiest.
On this day, the believers pray to the Holy Mother for good health, support, help and protection and, of course, love. It is considered that the Holy Mother protects a person who asked the help covering him/her with her Pokrova.
Besides, people should provide gifts to poor and orphans and fume the house with smoke of the apple or cherry twigs to attract prosperity and good luck.
Day of Defender of Ukraine
Since 2014, the Day of Defender of Ukraine is celebrated on October 14. In 2015, the presidential decree declared it to be the state holiday.
"On October 14, the Pokrova of the Holy Mother (Protection of the Holy Virgin) was a festive day for the defenders of the Fatherland since the Cossack times, so, last year, deliberately striking out artificially brought to us holiday of the Russian occupation army from the Ukrainian calendar, I, naturally, choose October 14 ", former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said.
Thus, the Day of Defender of Ukraine replaced the Soviet celebration on February 23 (the Defender of the Fatherland Day).
Day of the Ukrainian Cossacks
Since 1999, Ukraine celebrates the Day of the Ukrainian Cossacks on October 14. This date was chosen, considering the historical meaning and merits of Cossacks in the asserting of the Ukrainian statehood and its important contribution to the modern process of the creation of the state.
Since olden times, Cossacks considered the Holy Mother as their defender and protectress, that is why, they timed their day to coincide with the Holy Protection. Besides, on this very day, the Cossacks gathered the Great Council on which they chose hetmans and decided further military plans.
It is interesting that the Cossacks deeply and sincerely revered the Intercession of the Mother of God, believed in its power and solemnly celebrated it and because of that, another name of the feast appeared – Cossack’s Pokrova.
The uniqueness of Ukraine’s history is that the Cossack organization embodies the dedication of our ancestors to freedom.
Anniversary of Ukrainian Insurgent Army
On October 14, Ukraine also celebrates the creation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). It was created in 1942 and became the Ukrainian nationalist paramilitary and later partisan formation.
The tradition to celebrate this anniversary was introduced by Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko in 2005.
Since 2015, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army soldiers have gained the status of fighters for Ukraine’s independence in the 20th century.
Usually, the Ukrainians mark this date with many torchlight marches.