The Day of Defenders and Defendresses of Ukraine is a public holiday celebrated on October 14. It was officially established on October 14, 2014, by a presidential decree entitled “The Day of Defender of Ukraine”. On July 12, 2021, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine renamed the holiday into the Day of Defenders and Defendresses of Ukraine.
The urgent need for this national holiday became acute after the start of Russia’s occupation of Crimea and armed hostilities in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The society and the state had to show worthy respect for the unprecedented courage and bravery of Ukrainian soldiers on the front line and hundreds of lives given for the Motherland.
The date of October 14 was chosen not by chance. On this day, Ukraine also marks the Intercession of the Theotokos, and the Day of Ukrainian Cossacks was established in 1999.
From ancient times, the Most Holy Theotokos was a patron of the Ukrainian Cossacks and all Ukrainian armed groups.
It was on the feast of Intercession of the Theotokos that the Great Council was held in Ukraine, at which the hetman was elected. The image of a Cossack as a Ukrainian knight and defender of his native land resonates with every Ukrainian.
Already in the 20th century, the Cossack traditions of the struggle for independence of Ukraine were taken over by soldiers of the Army of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. And it is no coincidence that the feast of Intercession of the Theotokos was chosen as the day of the official creation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. Thus, it is quite logical that the ancient heroic past of Ukraine connects with the heroic present on this day.