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Kyiv’s Day becomes the Day of the Capital
Every year, at the end of May, the city of Kyiv celebrates the Day of the Capital; it used to be the Day of Kyiv but this year the celebration was renamed. The renaming did not change the joyous character of the holiday. Mariya VLAD talked to some of the celebrants and Maksym PROTSKIV took pictures.
“There’s something missing…”
I’m an architect and I also work as a restorer, now engaged in restoring the Klovsky Palace. Friends from the city of Dnipropetrovsk have come with me, and now I’m showing them the sights of Kyiv. My two-year-old daughter is with me too. My friends are very excited by what they see. I did not know that now it’s become the Day of the Capital instead of being the Day of Kyiv. It was the Day of Kyiv we used to celebrate… Everything looks festive enough but frankly, as an architect, I don’t like what’s been done to Maydan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square). It used to be a very nice place, with trees and fountains where, right in the very centre of Kyiv, you could find shade and rest. And what do we have now? All these places selling bric-a-brac and beer, all this glass and granite, skylights above the underground shopping malls with their exorbitant prices… I don’t mean to sound that my love of Kyiv has diminished one bit, but there’s something missing in many of those new housing developments and architectural landmarks. I think plans and designs should be better thought of and prepared.
“All things must pass…”
I work as a security guard at the fast-food restaurant Shvydko, and I also help my wife with her small business — we sell souvenirs with symbols and in colours of the Orange Revolution. My native town is Lviv rather than Kyiv but I’ve come to like Kyiv, the central street, Khreshchatyk, in particular. It’s become sort of dear to me after the events of the Orange Revolution last fall and winter. I stayed in one of those tents, elected to be in charge of that tent, 16B. We stood up for our rights, for the law. At times it felt so cold and miserable but we persevered and we won. Now we are celebrating the Day of Kyiv… Only, it’s a pity that things irrevocably change and are not what they used to be. Even that song, Razom nas bahato (“Together we are many…”) that used to be a sort of the anthem of the revolution does not seem to sound the way it did back then, particularly after some lines were changed to meet the requirements of the Eurovision Song Contest. You should not change anything in a revolutionary song, no matter what. I don’t think it was a very good idea to perform it at that pop-song contest…. All things must pass — revolutions, youth and songs included.
“I like the speed… and competition…”
I hail from Sevastopol but now I’m a sophomore, studying at a food technologies college. I find the people of Kyiv to be very friendly and hospitable. I’m looking forward to watching a 50-kilometre bicycle race through the streets of Kyiv which will be held to mark the Day of the Capital. Among the participants there will be bicyclists from Russia. I like the speed, the feeling it gives you. I think that it would be good if people of different parts of one country and of different countries developed in fair competition with each other. It is only in a competition that you can show what you are actually worth. Anyway, it’s what I and my friends think. My best friends are Vyacheslav Deryabin and Dmytro Ponomarenko. We are members of the bicycling sport club Avanhard. The club’s been in existence for only three years but we are progressing well.
“I believe in God…”
My mother and I, we’ve come to join the celebrations of the Day of the Capital of Ukraine. We are from the town of Pervomaysk, Mykolayiv Oblast, in the south of Ukraine. My mother is a shop assistant. I’m a sixth-grade student of a secondary school. The subject I like best is history. I want to become a teacher, and tell stu-dents about our land, about the world. In our town we also have many horse chestnut trees, and we also have a river, Pivdenny Buh, but it’s not as wide as the Dnipro near Kyiv, but it’s also beautiful… I like the central street of Kyiv very much — there’s grandeur in it, and the people you see in the streets smile and look friendly. I like the statue that stands high on a column in the centre of Maydan, the central square. I was told that that statue represents the Ukrainian woman. But best of all I like the gold-domed churches of Kyiv. When I was small, my grandma, Lyuba, taught me to pray. I believe in God, and when I pray, things happen the way I want them to happen.
“It’s fun to come here…”
I’m a fourth-grade pupil of an elementary school. My mom, who is here with me, is a pharmacologist. I’ve come here, to Khreshchatyk, roller-skating all the way from home. I like the way Khreshchatyk looks now, on a holiday. I don’t come here often. All my time free from school I give to math, English and ice hockey. There’s very little time left for anything else. But for a change, it’s fun to come here, to the centre of the city with mom and to do some roller-skating.
“I give you my word of an honest student you will enjoy it…”
I work as a barker for the Restaurant Kozatska Hata (Cossacks’ House), which is situated on Khreshchatyk, in the very centre of the city. My job is to invite people to come to the restaurant and taste true traditional Ukrainian dishes. I can tell that our varenyky (stuffed dumplings) are the best. So yummy! With lots of sour cream on top! Once you begin eating them, you can’t stop until you burst. And our borsch is also the very best you can get for your money’s worth anywhere!
I find the Day of Kyiv to be a nice celebration. The city of Kyiv is a very nice place too, with its trees lining the streets and with its parks, and with its golden-domed churches, and with its friendly people and with its food, the best that is served anywhere in Ukraine. In fact, you find the very best food in our restaurant — just go in and try something. Even if you are not hungry, you won’t be able to resist the temptation to try something. I can guarantee a full gastronomic satisfaction… What kind of guarantees can I provide? I’m a student of the Taras Shevchenko University in Kyiv, and I give you my word of an honest student you will enjoy the dishes we serve — is that a good guarantee? No, I am not originally from Kyiv — I hail from the town of Kaniv. No, I won’t tell you my name — unless you come in and have some food in our restaurant.
Svitlana, Olena and Ira:
“Those were the days!”
We are sisters and this is our friend Ira. We are students of the Ivan Franko Teacher’s Training College in the town of Zhytomyr. Yes, we want to be teachers. It’s a prestigious occupation. Besides, they say that the teachers’ salaries are to be raised… We come to Kyiv once in a while and we never miss the chance of coming to Kyiv on holidays or on days of some celebrations like today… One can’t help loving the capital of Ukraine. Ukraine became much better known in the world thanks to the events of the Orange Revolution. All those events were very important for Ukraine — and for the world too. Ukraine proved to itself and to the world that its people can show determination and strong will to defend their rights and get what they want. They say that the living standards in Ukraine are still very low — but the Orange Revolution opened the way to new hopes. Those were the days! The days of Kyiv, of the capital, of Ukraine! Khreshchatyk and Maydan were packed with people, chanting, Yes to the law! And No to corruption and lawlessness! The Ukrainians are a persevering nation… Where else shall we go to while in Kyiv? We’ll go to the Andriyvsky Uzviz Art Centre and then to the theatre. We’ve never been to any theatre in Kyiv yet.
Students from China:
“We like your holidays!”
I am from Hong Kong and now I am a student of the Aviation University in Kyiv, majoring in engineering. I’m going to build planes. They do build good planes in Ukraine!
I am a student of the Personnel Management Academy. It’s a good holiday we are having on the Day of Kyiv!
I’m from Shangai in China. I’m studying in Kyiv, at the Personnel Management Academy, and also I’m learning to play the flute. I like your holidays!
I’m studying to be a psychologist. This Day of Kyiv is a wonderful holiday, it’s so nice you celebrate such holidays — they make your capital even more beautiful. People of Kyiv are well-meaning and amicable.
“This kindness… gives energy to my soul…”
I am not an ethnic Ukrainian though I was born in Ukraine. In my childhood, I lived in Chicago, USA, but I like living in Ukraine better. I feel more comfortable living here than in the USA. I’m a ninth-grade student of a boarding school here in Kyiv. I find people in Kyiv to be helpful and well-wishing. You can feel it particularly well on holidays like today’s. This central street is full of people who are very nice and kind to each other. I feel this kindness. I absorb it. It gives energy to my soul. It’s like the rain giving life to the trees and flowers. Compared to Kyiv, Chicago has more movement, and people are very polite… Yes, I watched the Eurovision Song Contest show and I’m sorry the Ukrainian rock group GreenJolly did not sing too well. I liked the singers from Moldova best, and the Lithuanians had a nice song too. In general, I think, it was a good show, better than any other show of this kind that I’d seen.
Bohdan and Yanka:
“We take long walks and have long talks. It’s fun.”
I’m Bohdan from Cherkasy and this is Yanka from Kyiv. I’m a border guard, and Yana is a student. We like holidays of all kinds — we take long walks and have long talks. It’s fun. Did we watch the Eurovision Song Contest show? Yes, we did, but we did not like the way the Ukrainian pop group GreenJolly performed. Their song was no good for that contest. It was good for the revolution but not for a pop music show. But it was great that they held this show here in Kyiv, it added some prestige to Ukraine. It was colourful and full of talent. No, we could not get the tickets and had to watch the show on TV.[Prev][Contents][Next]