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Each country has holidays, honouring important events in its history. Many historical events are of great importance for all peo­ples and countries throughout the world.

As we live in Ukraine, we have our own customs and traditions, holidays and festivals. The long-term dream of Ukrainian people came true on Decem­ber 1, 1991. More than 90% of the Ukrainian people voted for the inde­pendence of their country, Ukraine. It was proclaimed on the 24th of August 1991 and Ukraine became a sovereign state. That is why Ukrainian people ce­lebrate this day as the greatest national holiday. There is a military parade with orchestras and national blue-and-yellow flags in Kyiv, and there are a lot of concerts and dances in the streets of most Ukrainian cities and towns. This holiday commemorates the freedom of Ukrainian people.

The New Year Holiday is widely observed in Ukraine. The most common type of celebration is the New Year party, either a family party or one arranged by a group of young people. This usually begins at 9 p.m. and goes on till the early hours of the morning. There are a lot of drinking and eating of the festive table; but the main thing is that the New Year is the holiday of expec­tations. The children decorate the New Year tree with toys and coloured lights. When the clock strikes 12, everybody drinks champagne and says to each other: "Happy New Year!"

Christmas Day is observed on the 7th of January. You know, this holiday is of religious origin. Most people observe the tradition of going to church and having a tasty dinner. But in Ukraine people do not exchange presents on this holiday as it is in the case of Great Britain and many other countries.

On the 8th of March we celebrate the Women's Day. It is a nice spring holiday when men give presents and flowers to their wives, sweethearts, girl­friends, sisters and daughters. Children congratulate their mothers on this ho­liday, or send them a holiday card with the best wishes.

The Shevchenko Days are also very popular in Ukraine. They are celeb­rated in March every year.

Another great national holiday is Easter, the holiday of celebrating Christ's rising from the dead. It is a time of giving and receiving presents which traditionally took the form of an Easter egg. The Easter egg is the most popular emblem of the religious holiday.

April Fool's day named from the custom of playing practical jokes or sen­ding on fool's errands is on April the 1st. People enjoy joking and laughing on this holiday.

The 9th of May is a Victory Day, the holiday of victory over fascist inva­ders. People lay flowers to the war memorials, to the tombs of the people who died in the war. There are commemorative meetings all over the country. War veterans are greeted and there is a salute and fireworks in the evening.


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