State Anthem Day in Ukraine Date in the current year: March 10, 2024

State Anthem Day in Ukraine Ukrainian State Anthem Day is observed annually on March 10. Although it is not a public holiday, it is widely celebrated across the country to highlight the importance of the national anthem as one of the state symbols of Ukraine.

The state anthem of Ukraine is “Shche ne vmerla Ukrainy i slava, i volia” (“The glory and freedom of Ukraine has not yet perished”), commonly referred to by its shortened form “Shche ne vmerla Ukraina” (“Ukraine has not yet perished”). It is based on a patriotic poem written by Pavlo Chubynsky, which was set to music by Mykhailo Verbytsky.

Ukrainian ethnographer and poet Pavlo Chubynsky wrote his patriotic poem “Ukraine Has Not Yet Perished” in the autumn of 1862. It quickly became popular among Ukrainophiles, who spread the text via a network of secret societies. The poem was first published in 1863, although the magazine that published it mistakenly attributed the poem to the renowned Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko. When Mykhailo Verbytsky, a Greek Catholic priest and composer, came across Chubynsky’s poem, he decided to set it to music. The first public performance of the song took place in 1865.

Following the 1917 February Revolution in the Russian Empire, the National Congress in Kyiv declared the Ukrainian People’s Republic. The government of the new Ukrainian state used Chubynsky’s poem as its anthem, although it was not adopted officially, and other patriotic songs were used alongside “Shche ne vmerla Ukraina”. In 1939, the song was adopted as the anthem of Carpatho-Ukraine, a short-lived Ukrainian state in what is now Zakarpattia Oblast (region) of Ukraine.

“Shche ne vmerla Ukraina” was banned throughout most of the Soviet era. Its first public performance in the Ukrainian SSR occurred during Perestroika; the anthem was sung by Ukrainian singers-songwriters Vasyl Zhdankin, Victor Morozov and Eduard Drach at the 1989 Chervona Ruta festival in Chernivtsi.

Ukraine declared its independence on August 24, 1991. In January 1992, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted Verbytsky’s music for “Ukraine Has Not Yet Perished” as the national anthem of Ukraine, which was later reflected in the Constitution of Ukraine. However, Chubynsky’s lyrics (to be more precise, the first stanza and chorus of the song) weren’t officially adopted until more than two decades later.

The idea to establish State Anthem Day was first voiced by the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory under the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine in 2015. The Institute proposed that the holiday should be celebrated on March 6 to commemorate the adoption of the Law on the National Anthem of Ukraine on this day in 2003.

However, it took several more years for State Anthem Day to be celebrated for the first time, and when the celebration finally occurred, it was held on March 10. The new date was chosen to commemorate the first public performance of the song that would become Ukraine’s national anthem. It took place on March 10, 1865 in Przemyśl during a concert dedicated to the memory of Taras Shevchenko who died on March 10, 1861.

On the occasion of State Anthem Day, various events and activities are held in cities, towns and villages throughout Ukraine. They include public performances, special lessons at schools, cultural events at public libraries, museums and community centers, and more. The celebration was especially poignant during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine because the national anthem of Ukraine embodies the struggle of Ukrainians for preserving their national identity and their country’s independence.

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