National Ukrainian symbols: origin and meaning

According to the Constitution of Ukraine there are three national Ukrainian symbols:

  • State Flag.
  • National State Emblem.
  • National Anthem.

Ukrainian State Flag

Flag of Ukraine

Ukrainian State Flag has two fesses; their colors are blue and yellow.

From the earliest times Ukraine was considered as an agricultural country with fertile ground, so the blue color symbolizes clear sky and the yellow color symbolizes fields of wheat.

Ukrainian flag meaning

For the first time the flag was officially used in 1918 when the Ukrainian National Republic (the predecessor of modern Ukraine) was declared. This republic existed for a little time and two years later Soviet Russia took the power and changed the Ukrainian flag into Ukrainian SSR flag.

Ukrainian State Flag became the national symbol of Ukraine over again only after the dissolution of Soviet Union in 1991.

In 2004 the 23th of August was decreed as the Day of the State Flag in Ukraine.

Ukrainian National State Emblem

The official Ukrainian coat of arms is Tryzub. It is a gold trident on an azure background. This national symbol dates back to Kievan Rus’ times, when the tryzub was the Rurik dynasty coat of arms.

This symbol was stamped on silver and gold coins which were issued by Prince Volodymyr the Great in X century.

For many centuries Ukrainian trident was used as a religious symbol, it appeared not only on coins but also on the church bricks and tiles. Tryzub could also be seen on ancient Ukrainian weapons, ceramics, seals, manuscripts and medallions.

In 1918 trident was adopted as the Ukrainian coat of arms by the government of Ukrainian National Republic. In 1921 the symbol lost its significance because of the Soviet Russia authority exercising over Ukraine. Only in 1992 after the restoration of Ukraine’s independence the trident was accepted as the National State Emblem.


There are about 40 different theories about Ukrainian Tryzub origin and meaning. Among the most popular:

  • the symbol of the trident is a monogram for Ukrainian word «ВОЛЯ» with the meaning ‘freedom’;
  • trident is a stylized falcon or hawk – a bird, that symbolizes freedom, courage and bravery;
  • Trizub symbolizes the trinity of life (Father, Mother and Child) or the Christian Trinity.
Read full information about Ukrainian coat of arms

Ukrainian National Anthem

National Anthem of Ukraine are the first stanza and the refrain of the song ‘Shche ne vmerla Ukraina’ (‘Ukraine has not yet perished’). The poem ‘Shche ne vmerla Ukraina’ was written by Ukrainian ethnographer and poet Pavlo Chubynskyi in 1862. This poem caught the attention of Mykhailo Verbytskyi, a priest, who composed music for it in 1863. The song was performed in the Ukraine Theatre in Lvov in 1864 as a choral work. It was very popular among the Ukrainian intelligentsia of the time, but it was not officially declared as a national anthem. Therefore the song was adopted as an anthem of Carpatho-Ukraine Republic during the Second World War.

‘Shche ne vmerla Ukraina’ became the official anthem of Ukraine only after the dissolution of USSR.

In 1992 the music was adopted by government; however, the lyrics (slightly changed) were adopted only in 2003.


Ukrainian national anthem

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  • There is a lot of bullshit written here about Ukrainian coat of arms. None of the presented versions is true. Ukrainian Trident has never been a «coat of arms» of the Rurikids. The very first coats of arms appeared in France in 13th century, and they looked exactly like the COATS COVERING THE ARMS! «The origin of the term coat of arms is in the surcoat, the cloth tunic worn over armour to shield it from the sun’s rays.» (Britannica)
    How a trident could cover the arms??? More so, it originates from the 10th century!
    Modern Ukrainian state emblem is a TAMGA of Volodymyr Sviatoslavych the Great, Great Duke of Kyiv, the ruler of Russia ([Rus’] don’t confuse it with today’s name of Muscovy, which was illegally appropriated by Muscovite Tsardom), from 980 to 1015 AD. All Kyivan princes had their own tamgas to mark their properties: money, arms, even the bricks, EVERYTHING that belonged to them. That is, actually, the sense of any tamga, a cattle brand, a branding iron, which were widely used among the nomad and semi-nomad peoples. Tamgas had NO ANY HIDDEN MEANING, they were just unique graphic symbols that had to distinguish one from another to be an individual mark of their owner.
    Volodymyr, same as his father Sviatoslav the Brave picked up a tradition of tamga from the Polans-Ukrainians, whose ancestors were the nomads and widely used the tamgas. The same tradition existed at the Polans-Lechites, the ancestors of modern Poles, because both peoples Polans-Ukrainians and Polans-Lechites before the 7th century were one big semi-nomad tribe of the Polans (the inhabitants of the fields; [pole] — a field in Slavic language), originated from the fields on the South of modern Ukraine. Tamgas, on the same reason, were widely used later in the coats of arms of Polish and Ukrainian Szlachta (gentry), which considered themselves the descendants of the Sarmatians. The Sarmatians, not as an Iranian tribe, but as the inhabitants of Sarmatia, a country in the steppe zone of modern Ukraine, where the semi-nomad Polans originated from. So, Ukrainian state symbol, the Trident, is a continuation of Sarmatian tradition, which via Volodymyr the Great connects modern Ukrainians and the Ukrainian State to their ancestors and predecessors: Scythia, Sarmatia and Rus’, as the English name «Russia» sounds in original.
    By the way, the tamgas are the distinguishing, exclusive sign for Polish and Ukrainian coats of arms only! Any other coats of arms of other Slavic peoples do not have them.

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