On the third day of our visit to Kiev, it was VictoryDay, a day of national celebration and fiest. The city was teeming with life from the early morniing ang all the way into the small hours. We started our day with breakfast on the mini-balcony outside our rooms, overlooking the military parade on the Khreshchatyk Street
The whole city was decorated with flags and flowers. Everybody were dressed in their best clothes. It was obvious that the Ukrainians really wanted to celebrate the countrys birthday.
Just outside where we lived, on the Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti) a huge stage was set up and there were performances of every kind there all through the day. The one thing that strikes a visitor however, is that it is all very nationalistic, very Ukrainian. There were no international pop-music, no rock ‘n roll. It was all very Ukrainian. The Ukrainians are obviously very proud of their country and it’s history.
Oksana took us to the Victory Monument located on the high hills on south bank of the Dniepr river. Beneath the huge monument is The National Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War – a vast collection commemorating the war against Germany 1941-45. Here there were more performances and parades.
One nice tradition we noticed was that young children were giving floweers to the old, decorated veterans of the war. Oksana told u that this tradition went all the way back to the war itself. A very nice and proper tradition by any standard.
One thing that did strike the eye though was that some of the veterans were carrying pictures of Joseph Stalin, who was arguably one of the greatest mass-murderers in history and who killed millions of Ukrainians. It seems strange to an outsider that he was being honored by some and even strnger that noone seemed to mind.
Back in the city center there were even more acts to see. But one of the more noticable ones did not take place on any stage but on stairs leading up from the Khreshchatyk Street. A spontanous concert around an accordeon-player. The national colours were truly flying this evening!
We Norwegians are proud of the way we celebrate our nations birthday, but the Ukrainians surely showed us that they too are very proud of their country too.