New Ukrainian state holidays

17 February 2023
New Ukrainian state holidays
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New Ukrainian state holidays 

Draft bill #9009 of February 13, 2023 

Cosponsors: Oksana Savchuk and MPs from Holos, For the Future, and Servant of the People factions. 

Who is affected: employers, employees, civil servants in particular, employees of local self-governance bodies, employees of state and communal enterprises, businesses, and women. 

Summary of the bill: 

  • the following state holidays will no longer be observed: International Women’s Day (March 8), Labor Day (May 1), and Victory Day over Nazism in the Second World War (May 9) 
  • instead, new holidays will be introduced: 
  1. Ukrainian Woman’s Day (Ukrainka Day) — the birthday of Lesya Ukrainka (February 25)
  2. Shevchenko’s Day — the birthday of Taras Shevchenko (March 9)
  3. Mother’s Day — the second Sunday of May. 

What is right: holidays on May 1 and May 9 are now more about propaganda than celebration, so it makes sense to stop observing them. Russia uses these dates to promote its regime’s propaganda, justify its aggression, and threaten the civilized world with war. 

What is wrong: 

  • new holidays proposed in the draft bill do not correlate with traditions maintained by Ukrainians despite the claims of the authors of the draft bill. Moreover, some of the proposed holidays could have not quite celebratory connotations. For example, Ukrainian Woman’s Day is supposed to be celebrated on February 25, close to Day of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes commemoration (February 20) and the start of the armed aggression of Russia against Ukraine (February 24) 
  • the bill promotes traditionalistic narratives about the role of a woman in society as a mother, guardian, etc. 
  • some of the authors of the draft bill are already criticizing it. Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, an MP from the Holos faction and one of the cosponsors, states that some of the proposed holidays have no chance of been adopted and are “really useless” 
  • there are discrepancies between the summary table of the draft bill and the draft bill itself. According to the table, on October 14, instead of Male and Female Defenders Day Ukraine will celebrate Male Defenders Day. At the same time, the draft bill is a reference point document while the summary table is supposed only to highlight the proposed changes.