Coat of Arms Day in Ukraine Date in the current year: February 19, 2024

Coat of Arms Day in Ukraine Coat of Arms Day is an unofficial observance held in Ukraine on February 19 every year. It commemorates the official adoption of the small coat of arms in Ukraine on this day in 1992.

The small coat of arms of Ukraine is a blue (azure) shield with a golden trident (tryzub in Ukrainian). It was inspired by the personal seal of Volodymyr the Great, the ruler of the Kyivan Rus’ who is famous for the Christianization of the Kyivan Rus’. He inherited the symbol from his father Sviatoslav I and passed it on to his sons, Sviatopolk I and Yaroslav the Wise.

However, for a long time the trident remained just that: a personal symbol of several Grand Dukes of the Kyivan Rus’. Historical coats of arms used by political entities in what is now Ukraine include a golden lion on an azure shield (the Kingdom of Ruthenia) and a Cossack with a musket on a blue shield (the Zaporizhian Host and the short-lived Ukrainian State).

The modern trident symbol was first used as a coat of arms by the Ukrainian People’s Republic (UPR) established in 1917. It was proposed by Mykhailo Hrushevskyi, a prominent historian and the first president of the UPR. The coat of arms of the UPR was designed by Vasyl Krychevsky and officially adopted on February 25, 1918.

During the Soviet period, which lasted from 1919 until the independence of Ukraine in 1991, the coat of arms of the Ukrainian SSR was consistent with the state emblems of other Soviet republics; it featured the rising sun, a hammer and sickle, a red star, and the motto “Workers of the world, unite” in Ukrainian and Russian.

Following the independence of Ukraine on August 24, 1991, the newly independent country retained the old Soviet emblem for some time until the new coat of arms could be developed. The current small coat of arms was designed by Ukrainian heraldist Andriy Hrechylo and artists Oleskiy Kokhan and Ivan Turetskiy. It was officially adopted by the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) on February 19, 1992.

Although the Constitution of Ukraine includes provisions for the adoption of the great coat of arms, it has has been neither adopted nor even designed as of February 2024. Due to this, the small coat of arms functions as the national emblem of Ukraine.

The idea of celebrating Ukrainian Coat of Arms Day was first brought up in 2016. It was suggested that the holiday be observed on February 25 to commemorate the adoption of the coat of arms of the Ukrainian People’s Republic in 1918. A corresponding bill was developed by the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory and submitted to the Verkhovna Rada in 2017, but it was never adopted.

In 2018, Coat of Arms Day was unofficially celebrated on February 19 for the first time. Since then, it has been observed every year. Even though the holiday has no official status, it is endorsed by various government agencies, educational institutions, cultural organizations, and other stakeholders. There was a renewed surge of interest in Coat of Arms Day after the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine because the tryzub is widely associated with patriotism and the resilience of the Ukrainian people.

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Coat of Arms Day in Ukraine, observances in Ukraine, unofficial holidays, small coat of arms of Ukraine, Ukrainian trident