As a national flag, the blue and yellow bicolour was officially used since the 1848 Spring of Nations when it was hoisted over the Lviv Rathaus. It was officially adopted as a state flag for the first time in 1918 by the short-lived West Ukrainian People's Republic, and subsequently used by the Ukrainian People's Republic. When Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, the flag was outlawed and before 1949 there was no official state flag until adoption of the red-blue flag of the Ukrainian SSR. People who hoisted the blue-yellow flags in the Soviet Ukraine were prosecuted as criminals. The blue and yellow flag was provisionally adopted for official ceremonies in September 1991 following Ukrainian independence, before finally officially being restored in 1992. Ukraine celebrates Flag Day each year on August 23 since 2004.
Article 20 of the Constitution of Ukraine states the following, citing: "the State Flag of Ukraine is a banner of two equally sized horizontal bands of blue and yellow colour." (Ukrainian: "Державний Прапор України — стяг із двох рівновеликих горизонтальних смуг синього і жовтого кольорів.")
The flag did not appear on Ukrainian official postal stamp issues until the 1992 was released, depicting the flag with state coat of arms. Since that time the flag has frequently appeared on stamps. Cinderella stamps of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists were printed outside Ukraine during the Soviet period and served propaganda purposes.
Traditionally, the flag may be decorated with golden fringe surrounding the perimeter of the flag as long as it does not deface the flag proper. Beginning of a tradition was the flag of the Ukrainian SSR. Great Soviet Encyclopedia shows a flag decorated with a gold star. Ceremonial displays of the flag, such as those in parades or on indoor posts, often use fringe to enhance the beauty of the flag. No specific law governs the legality of fringe. Traditionally, the Army, Guard, Navy and Air Force use a fringed National Color for parade, color guard and indoor display, while the Office of the President and local authorities use a fringed National Color for all uses.
23 August is celebrated as the Day of the National Flag in Ukraine; beginning with 2004. July 24 was previously marked as National Flag Day in Kiev. The first ceremonial raising of the yellow-and-blue Ukrainian flag in modern times took place on 24 July 1990 at the flagstaff of the Kiev City Council, two years before the flag was officially adopted as the National flag. Since 1992 Independence Day of Ukraine is celebrated on August 24. Following government decree, the flag must be flown from public buildings on this dates and some other holidays. Not all of these days are public holidays. Flags also must be flown on election days for the Verkhovna Rada in addition to other regional-specific flag days. The public display of flags to mark other events, such as the election of the president or the death of a prominent politician (whereupon flags would be at half-mast), can be declared at the discretion of the Cabinet of Ministers. When flags are required to be flown at half-mast, vertical flags are not lowered. A black mourning ribbon is instead attached, either atop the mast (if hung from a pole) or to each end of the flag's supporting cross-beams (if flown like a banner).
Yellow - blue, red-black, crimson-olive and especially raspberry colour banners were widely used by Cossacks between the 16th and 18th centuries. These were not the only possible combinations, since normally Cossacks would fly their hetman's banners, which were similar to the coats of arms of the nobility. Also, yellow and blue were the colours common on coats of arms in Galicia. In fact, the coat of arms of Lviv to this day remains a golden lion on a blue field.
Some put the starting point of the current national flag of Ukraine in year 1848, when during the Spring of the Nations a yellow and blue banner was adopted by the Main Ruthenian Council in Lviv and flew over the city's magistrate for the first time. Although this move did not have significant consequences, the newly formed Ukrainian divisions in the Austrian army used yellow and blue banners in their insignia.
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