Ukraine's National Symbols and Meanings

Anna Naumovychreviewed byNataliia Afonina / more about Editorial Process9 min
Created: Aug 11, 2023Last updated: Dec 11, 2023
Ukraine's National Symbols and Meanings

Ukraine has adopted various national symbols that represent the country, reflecting its values, natural wonders, and historical identity. From the resolute trident to the blooming sunflowers, these symbols are more than just visual representations; they embody the essence of Ukraine. This article will delve into key Ukrainian national symbols, their background, and the meaning they convey. Discover what makes these emblems an integral part of the nation's narrative.

Official Symbols

Enduring Trident

Ukraine’s national coat of arms features the iconic tryzub (Ukrainian: тризуб), a trident symbol dating back over 1,000 years. First associated with Kyivan Rus' ruler Vladimir the Great, the trident connects modern Ukraine to its Eastern Slavic heritage. Today the golden trident set against an azure background represents Ukrainian sovereignty and the people's unwavering spirit. Its presence adorning passports, currency, and governmental buildings signifies an independent, unified country. Three points of the Ukrainian trident represent the historical journey from the past, through the present, and into the promising future, all rooted in Ukraine's enduring history of resilience.

Iconic Flag

The blue and yellow of Ukraine's flag symbolize more than just colors; they represent the lush wheat fields and the peaceful sky. These hues were chosen not just for their aesthetics, but for the profound meanings they hold in the heart of the nation.

Anthem of Hope

The Ukrainian national anthem, "Shche ne vmerla Ukrainy" (“Ще не вмерла України”), is a heartfelt melody that resonates with the country's enduring spirit. With lyrics by Pavlo Chubynsky and music composed by Mykhailo Verbytsky, the anthem encapsulates Ukraine's unwavering determination and resilience. Its verses passionately speak of the land's beauty, the courage of its people, and the timeless quest for freedom.

Ukraine's Symbolic Plants and Animals

Blooming Sunflowers 

For a long time, sunflowers have grown all around Ukraine. They're tough plants and show how Ukraine keeps going, just like them. Their yellow petals look like the sun. During WWII, sunflowers became a sign of how Ukraine wouldn't give up. Even when others took over, the flowers still faced the sun. This showed they were still loyal to their country. Now, sunflowers mean being proud, having freedom, and not giving up.

Mighty Oak

The national tree of Ukraine, the mighty oak, holds a special place for its strong nature and ability to last through challenges. This plant reflects the resolute spirit of the Ukrainian people and their deep bond with the land. Just like the oak's roots dig deep into the ground, Ukrainians are deeply connected to their country and its history. 

Crimson Kalyna

Kalyna, the vibrant viburnum berry, holds a special place in Ukrainian culture as a symbol of Ukraine, home, and heartfelt connections. Just as a mother's blessing accompanies a son's departure, this resilient plant signifies the unbreakable tie to one's family and birthplace - a reflection of Ukraine's deep-rooted identity. Enduring harsh winters without losing its beauty or potency, kalyna mirrors the nation's unwavering strength. Evoking the celestial trio of the sun, moon, and stars, its circular berries suggest eternity and maidenly grace, embodying both timeless beauty and the lasting memory of Ukraine's heritage. The heart-shaped seeds of kalyna further encapsulate its message of love and affection.

Majestic Bison

Ukraine national animal is the European Bison, known as "Zubr." It symbolizes an untamed spirit and a profound link to its natural surroundings. Zubr embodies the harmonious relationship between humanity and the environment, a testament to Ukraine's deep-rooted respect for nature's balance.

Melodious Nightingale

The nightingale is a national bird of Ukraine. Its enchanting melodies have long been seen as messengers of hope and beauty, resonating with the nation's aspirations for a brighter future. The nightingale's song embodies the harmony between nature and the human soul.

Ukrainian Artistic and Cultural Symbols

Ukraine's rich artistic heritage speaks volumes about its culture and history. From vibrant paintings to intricate folk crafts, Ukrainian art captures the essence of the nation's traditions and stories. Through various forms of visual expression, artists have woven a tapestry of cultural identity that resonates both within the country and beyond its borders.

Embroidery of Identity

The vyshyvanka, a traditional embroidered blouse, is more than just clothing in Ukraine – it's a symbol of national pride and heritage. Adorned with intricate patterns and vibrant colors, this unique garment weaves together centuries of tradition, conveying stories and symbols that reflect the essence of Ukrainian identity.

Echoes of the Carpathians

The trembita, a long wooden horn, carries the soulful melodies of the Carpathian Mountains. This ancient musical instrument embodies Ukraine's folk heritage, its haunting notes echoing through time to connect the present with the past, resonating with the natural landscapes that have shaped the nation's spirit.

Musical Storyteller

The bandura, a unique Ukrainian musical instrument, holds a special place in the nation's cultural repertoire. Its melodic tones have accompanied countless stories and songs, playing a crucial role in preserving Ukraine's history and emotions through its centuries-old melodies.

Symbolic Easter Eggs

Pysanka, intricately decorated Easter eggs, symbolize rebirth, growth, fertility, and the eternal cycle of life. This ancient Ukrainian art form marries intricate designs with vibrant colors, embodying the nation's deep connection to nature, spirituality, and the celebration of new beginnings.

Blossoming Folk Art

Petrykivka painting, with its colorful floral patterns and intricate designs, is a living expression of Ukrainian creativity. Originating in the village of Petrykivka, this folk art captures the beauty of nature and the heartfelt stories of a community, reflecting the country's love for vibrant aesthetics.

Spirited Dance

The hopak, an energetic Ukrainian dance, embodies the nation's vitality and exuberance. With energetic leaps, spins, and kicks, this centuries-old dance celebrates the joy of life, forming a cultural bridge that connects Ukrainians across generations.

Threads of Folklore 

The motanka doll, a handcrafted folk creation, stands as a symbol of protection and connection to ancestral wisdom. Crafted from simple materials and adorned with heartfelt intentions, these dolls embody the essence of Ukrainian folklore and the bond between generations.

Inspirational Taras Shevchenko

Taras Shevchenko, a celebrated figure in Ukrainian history, is a beacon of national pride. A poet, artist, and advocate for justice, his poetry and visual artworks have resonated through generations, inspiring Ukrainians to embrace their identity, language, and aspirations.

Culinary Symbols

Ukrainian food is a testament to the country's history, geography, and cultural diversity. From hearty dishes like borscht to intricately decorated korovai bread, and the renowned horilka, Ukrainian cuisine not only delights the palate but also reflects the enduring traditions and shared values of the nation.

Comfort in a Bowl

Borscht, a hearty beet soup, is a quintessential Ukrainian dish. Its deep red hue symbolizes the nation's fertile soil. Passed down for generations, borscht encapsulates the comfort of a shared tradition.

Braided Bread of Celebration

Intricately decorated breads like korovai embody celebration and hospitality in Ukrainian culture. The circular shape signifies community and eternity. As an agricultural country, Ukraine boasts its vast wheat fields, and this traditional bread beautifully captures the essence of its fertile land and the spirit of sharing sustenance.

A Toast to Ukraine

Ukraine's signature distilled liquor known as horilka symbolizes the nation's hospitality and spirits. Horilka's strong flavor profiles reflect Ukraine's bold character.

Through its iconic foods, Ukraine has created edible symbols that tie back to cultural values of fertility, community, and generously sharing sustenance. These flavors will continue nourishing both bodies and connections to heritage for generations to come.

Ukrainian Language: Vital Symbol of Identity

The Ukrainian language serves as a profound national symbol that conveys the country's unique identity. Here are some fascinating facts about it:

  • It is one of the oldest and most distinct languages in Europe, with its roots tracing back over a thousand years. 
  • Ukrainian uses the Cyrillic alphabet, which consists of 33 letters. 
  • It has some letters that are unique to the language and have different sounds compared to other Slavic languages.
  • A fascinating aspect of the Ukrainian language is its remarkable recognition among the world's most aesthetically appealing languages. Remarkably, during prestigious language competitions held in Italy and France, Ukrainian earned the esteemed distinction of being ranked as the second most melodious language (after Italian) and the third most beautiful vocabulary (after French and Persian).
  • The Ukrainian language boasts a wealth of diminutive forms, a linguistic feature that sets it apart. Interestingly, even the term "enemies" possesses its very own diminutive form, defying conventional expectations.
  • Ukrainian is spoken by around 40 million people worldwide. It's not only spoken in Ukraine but also by Ukrainian communities in countries like Poland, Canada, and the United States.
  • During Soviet times, the Ukrainian language faced significant challenges as a result of policies aimed at promoting Russian. The use of Ukrainian was discouraged, and efforts were made to suppress its prominence. Books written in Ukrainian were burned, and speaking the language was often met with restrictions. However, after Ukraine gained independence in 1991, there was a remarkable resurgence of interest in and support for the Ukrainian language. The nation's renewed sense of identity led to a revitalization of its linguistic heritage, helping the language to flourish once again.
  • Ukrainian has contributed words to other languages, particularly due to its historical connections and influence. For example, English has borrowed words like "cossack," "borscht," "holubtsi", "vyshyvanka", and "hetman" from Ukrainian.
  • Taras Shevchenko's masterpiece "Testament" (“Заповіт”) holds the distinction of being the most widely translated piece of Ukrainian poetry. This renowned work has traversed linguistic boundaries, finding its way into an impressive array of 147 languages across the globe.


Master Ukrainian with Promova

At Promova, we celebrate Ukraine's linguistic heritage as an essential symbol of national pride. Our platform offers an immersive Ukrainian language course, allowing learners to embrace this vital aspect of Ukraine's identity. Through interactive lessons, users can gain fluency in reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

From Ukrainian to Global Fluency

Beyond Ukrainian, Promova empowers learners with a variety of language options, including EnglishSpanishFrenchGermanItalianKorean, and more. Learners can practice their skills through group lessons, one-on-one tutor sessions, and free conversation clubs. Join Promova on an enriching language-learning journey today.

In addition to the rich offerings, learners can delve into mastering Business English, an essential skill for professional success in today's globalized world. Through Promova’s comprehensive Business English course, you'll gain the language proficiency needed to excel in international communication, negotiations, job interviews, presentations, and more.


Ukraine's national symbols serve as a testament to the country's heritage, creativity, and natural beauty. From the resilient trident to the vibrant sunflowers, each emblem encapsulates the spirit of the nation and its people, echoing through generations as a source of pride and unity.


What is the symbol of Ukraine?

The symbol of Ukraine is the trident, known as tryzub in Ukrainian. It is an ancient emblem featuring a three-pronged design. The trident holds deep historical and cultural significance, representing Ukrainian sovereignty, identity, and the enduring spirit of the nation.

What is Ukraine’s national coat of arms?

The national coat of arms features the tryzub, an ancient golden trident symbol representing freedom and sovereignty. It dates back to Vladimir the Great, a prominent ruler of Kyivan Rus', a medieval state that laid the foundation for the Ukrainian nation.

Why is the sunflower Ukraine’s national flower?

Sunflowers represent Ukraine's bounty and perseverance. Their wartime legend and ability to turn towards light symbolize national loyalty and resilience.

Where are Ukraine's symbols displayed?

Ukrainian trident, flag colors, and sunflowers appear on currency, passports, government buildings, uniforms, embroidery, and more. They unite Ukrainians worldwide.