Flag of Ukraine

Flag of Ukraine
Country Ukraine
Population 36,744,634 (2023)
Area (Km²) 579,320 (2023)
Сontinent Europe
Emoji 🇺🇦
  hex rgb
#0057B7 0, 87, 183
#FFDD00 255, 221, 0

The flag of Ukraine consists of two horizontal stripes of equal size: blue at the top and yellow at the bottom. The flag has deep historical roots and symbolizes the country's national identity. Every year on August 23, Ukrainians celebrate the Flag Day of Ukraine, which was established in 2004.

What do the colors of the Ukrainian flag mean?

The colors of the flag - yellow and blue - have historical origins and symbolic meanings:

  • The yellow color reflects the richness and fertility of Ukrainian lands, and symbolizes the golden potential and spiritual wealth of the nation;
  • The blue color represents the sky over Ukraine and the numerous water resources that are important to the country.

Together, yellow and blue create a harmonious combination that reflects the desire for peace, stability and unity. The classic interpretation of the colors of the Ukrainian flag is the blue sky and yellow wheat fields. From a religious perspective, the yellow color represents God, and the blue color represents the freedom that mortal men received as a gift from God. Also, if we draw an analogy with the world of elements, blue symbolizes water and yellow symbolizes fire.

Is Ukraine's flag yellow and blue or blue and yellow?

There is an opinion that the flag should be in yellow and blue colors, as it was before. And the inverted blue and yellow flag attracts bad luck and is the cause of Ukraine's misfortunes. There is even a story related to this statement that happened in 1992.

Is Ukraine's flag yellow and blue or blue and yellow?

At an event, Chinese artist Mao Mao asked the then president to change the order of the colors of the Ukrainian flag from blue and yellow to yellow and blue. She referred to the book by the author of the I Ching, The Book of Changes, in which the combination of colors, with blue on top and yellow below, forms the hexagram "PI". This hexagram symbolizes decay - "water pours fire". In the mirror image, the flag forms the hexagram "Tai", which, on the contrary, symbolizes prosperity. There is also a scientific explanation for why the flag should be yellow and blue. Vexillology (the science of flags) states that the top stripe of the flag should be the same color as the coat of arms, which is yellow on a blue background.

However, there is no evidence that the flag was deliberately turned over, contrary to all the rules, bringing bad luck to the country. Moreover, there are no rules on how to choose the right national symbol. A flag is a unique thing that resonates in the hearts of the people of every country and identifies it among others. These are colors, symbols, and signs that have meaning only for a particular nation, so it cannot be standardized. And no state has ever referred to the Book of Changes by the I Ching when choosing its flag.

The truth is that both flags were used simultaneously. And it just so happened that the blue and yellow flag took root better than the yellow and blue flag. This is confirmed by old black and white photographs from rallies where both flags were present. For example, on April 1, 1917, a rally was held on St. Sophia Square. Although the photo is in black and white, it clearly shows that there are two versions of the flag - with a lighter line at the top and a darker one at the bottom, but there are also opposite versions. There are fewer of them, but they are there. As historians explain, a bromine-silver gelatin emulsion was used for photographs at the time. It is less sensitive to color spectra above blue and cyan - during photography, light reflected from yellow, orange, or red objects has virtually no effect on the photographic material. These areas appear light on the negative but dark when printed. And blue and blue - on the contrary. Therefore, the fact that the upper part of the flags is often lighter than the lower part is an argument in favor of the greater popularity of the blue and yellow version at that time.

Interesting facts about the Ukrainian flag - a list of records:

  • Among the flags of Slavic countries, only 2 countries do not have red color: Ukraine and Bosnia;
  • In 2007, a record was set in Donetsk for the first time in the Ukrainian Book of Records - the largest flag measuring 30 by 45 meters (1350 m²);
  • The longest flag was made in Ternopil in 2010 - 9.5 km long and 0.75 m wide. This length was enough to surround the entire Ternopil Pond;
  • In 2014, the largest national flag of Ukraine, 60:40 meters, was unfurled in Lviv on the square near the monument to Ivan Franko. It was listed in the Book of Records of Ukraine and the Guinness Book of Records as the largest national flag of Ukraine;
  • In 2014, a two-color flag weighing 300 kg and covering an area of 2,400 m² was raised in the city of Bakhmut (Artemivsk) in Donetsk Oblast;
  • The largest painted flag appeared in Kyiv in June 2014. Back then, thousands of residents of the capital painted a part of the concrete slope on Obolonska embankment;
  • In 2016, Ukrainian climbers planted a flag on the top of the world's highest volcano, Ojos del Salado (6872 meters);
  • In 2016, Iryna Halay became the first Ukrainian woman to climb Mount Everest and raise the blue and yellow flag at the top of the world;
  • In 2018, the flag of Dnipro sets two records. The largest flag that has ever been raised into the sky - 12 by 18 meters and weighing 23 kg. And, as the flag with the highest flagpole, its height was 72 meters.
  • In 2020, the largest flagpole was installed in Kyiv, almost 20 meters higher than in Dnipro. It is 90 meters high and weighs 32 tons. The weight of the flag is 45-60 kilograms, depending on the material of manufacture. The size of the canvas is 16:24 meters. The flag is replaced once a month. The average time for this procedure is 90 minutes, including 6 minutes for lowering and 7 minutes for raising. - for raising. From 2020 to the present (2024), the flag has been flying on the slopes of the Dnipro River in Kyiv and will continue to do so as a symbol of invincibility for the citizens of Ukraine.

The history of the flag of Ukraine

The coat of arms of Lviv is a golden lion on a blue background, established in 1256.

The combination of blue and yellow on the Ukrainian flag has historical significance and has been used since the Middle Ages. Lviv, founded in 1256, had a coat of arms with a yellow lion on a blue background. In the 14th century, gold and blue were officially used in the coat of arms of the Rus' Kingdom and were also found in the coats of arms of local nobility. The Cossacks of the Zaporozhian Sich also frequently used blue and yellow in their flags starting in the 18th century. During the "Spring of Nations" of 1848, the Main Russian Council in Lviv restored the coat of arms of the Russian Kingdom of the 13th and 14th centuries, and blue and yellow banners were widely used as national flags. On May 5, 1900, the Ukrainian sports association Sich began operating under the blue and yellow flag in Galicia, and with mass emigration in the late 19th century, the concept of the blue and yellow flag spread to the Transcarpathian lands and Ukrainian settlements in America.

In 1917, Ukrainian blue and yellow flags appeared in public for the first time since the February Revolution. This happened in Kyiv, Odesa, and Kharkiv. Under these flags, units of the Tsarist army and the Black Sea Fleet were Ukrainized during World War I. On March 17, 1917, the organization of the Central Rada was proclaimed, and Ukrainian blue and yellow flags began to appear publicly in Kyiv. Mykhailo Hrushevsky, the first president of Ukraine, officially adopted this color combination as the country's flag. Under the blue and yellow flag, Ukrainian youth fought against the Russian Bolsheviks and the Ukrainian Galician Army during the Ukrainian-Polish War and on the anti-Bolshevik front. The flag of the West Ukrainian People's Republic also had the same blue and yellow colors.

There are still discussions about the arrangement of colors on the Ukrainian flag. Some argue that the current arrangement of blue on top is correct, while others believe that yellow should be on top, as it was during the Ukrainian People's Republic. Modern researchers have not found any documents that would approve the "yellow-blue" color order in the Ukrainian People's Republic. Documents of the time show the use of both variants, as do old photographs.

The red and black revolutionary flag of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUNR) and the blue flag of the OUN with a golden coat of arms, a trident and a sword

In the early 1940s, the revolutionary faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUNR) sought to create its own red and black symbols to distinguish itself from the OUN, which used a blue flag and a golden coat of arms with a trident and sword. The red and black flag gained popularity among young people, but remained unofficial until the outbreak of the Soviet-German war. Many fighters of the armed wing of the OUN, the UPA, did not know these colors and fought under blue and yellow flags. From March to May 1939, Carpathian Ukraine fought for its independence under the blue and yellow flag.

During the Soviet era, the blue and yellow flag of Ukraine was banned, and displaying the flag was considered a crime with severe consequences. However, there were cases when people risked punishment to show their support for Ukraine. In 1966, two people climbed a building in Kyiv and replaced a Soviet flag with a Ukrainian one. They were later convicted and fought for freedom even after Ukraine gained independence. In 1967, an unknown person hung a blue and yellow flag in the Dnipro River with a trident and an inscription in honor of Ukraine's independence. In 1976, a student in Toronto waved a Ukrainian flag during an Olympic handball match and was ejected from the arena. During a soccer match the same year, a young man ran onto the field with a blue and yellow flag and danced hopak, while fans raised placards reading "Freedom to Ukraine!" In 1989, the activist raised the national flag in Lviv during a rally in memory of the Chernobyl disaster. This flag had a golden trident embroidered on it. These cases demonstrate the determination of people to challenge the Soviet regime and express their support for Ukraine.

In 1991, the Ukrainian national flag was introduced to the Verkhovna Rada, despite opposition from the pro-communist majority. The flag was officially approved as a national symbol in 1992, and the National Flag Day of Ukraine was established in 2004 and is celebrated on August 23. In 1990, the blue and yellow flag was raised over the Kyiv City Council. The winter of 2013-2014 was a turning point for the perception of state symbols in Ukraine, as the Maidan protests, the deaths of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes, and ongoing tragedies affected attitudes toward the symbols. In 2014, a member of the city council was kidnapped and killed in Horlivka as he tried to replace a separatist flag with a Ukrainian one.

Throughout the defense of the Donetsk airport, the Ukrainian flag was constantly raised by fighters who were nicknamed "cyborgs." Despite the enemy's attempts to bring the flags down, the symbol of the Ukrainian state was raised again and again. Unfortunately, over time, the enemy destroyed the control tower where the flag was flying. There were also other cases of patriotism, such as when local residents of Sudak in the occupied Crimea raised the Ukrainian flag in honor of fallen soldiers and captured sailors. Although the war against the Russian Federation, which invaded Ukraine, began in 2014, outbreaks of patriotism, self-identification as Ukrainians, communication in the state language, and love for state symbols occurred in 2022 after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The blue and yellow flag has become a powerful symbol for Ukraine, which is fighting for its freedom and future.

In July 2022, after the Ukrainian Armed Forces cleared the area, a blue and yellow flag with the caption "Remember the 'Russian warship' Zmeinyi Island is Ukraine!!!" was raised on Zmeinyi Island. In a liberated village in the Kharkiv region, cans with the flag of Ukraine were dug up in the garden; a local buried the flag during the occupation to prevent it from being taken by the Russians. In the lyceum of the village of Tsyrkuny, a flag signed by ATO participants - defenders who left the Ilovaisk cauldron - was preserved. The wall with the state symbols, painted by the lyceum's art teacher, was shot at, but the historic flag was preserved. Children in basements, bomb shelters, during the occupation, painted the blue and yellow flag on the walls and greeted the Ukrainian soldiers on the liberated territories with it.

Around the world, the blue and yellow colors have become a symbol of support for Ukraine:

  • On May 9, 2022, the Eiffel Tower in France flashed the colors of the Ukrainian flag;
  • In honor of the 30th anniversary of Ukraine's independence (August 24, 2022), the London Eye glowed blue and yellow;
  • On May 9, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin shone with the colors of freedom;
  • Ice arena in Canada - March 7, 2022;
  • On February 27, 2022, the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls waterfalls in Canada were illuminated in the colors of the Ukrainian flag;
  • In Tokyo, the government building was illuminated in the colors of Ukraine on March 1;
  • In Vienna, a wall next to the memorial to Soviet soldiers was painted blue and yellow on March 1, 2022;
  • On July 5, 2022, a fence was painted near the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC;
  • On May 9, 2022, a mural in blue and yellow with a girl on a ladder writing the word "HOPE" was painted in Barcelona.