Independence Day in Eastern European Countries

Fireworks. Yana Paskova / Getty Images

In Eastern Europe, independence day usually commemorates the anniversary of a country’s autonomy, often after a split from another country or ceasing to be occupied by another country. National Days (there can be more than one in a country) are also celebrated and can recognize a nation’s independence or a patron saint’s or ruler’s birthday.

Here is when these holidays are celebrated in Eastern Europe.

  • Belarus - Independence Day is celebrated on July 3 to recognize the liberation of Minsk from German occupation by Soviet troops in 1944.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina - March 1 recognizes independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1992, and Nov. 25 celebrates Republic Day of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Bulgaria - Sept. 22 memorializes independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1908 and National Day on March 3 recognizes autonomy within the Ottoman Empire in 1878.
  • Croatia - Independence Day is on Oct. 28 and independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 is celebrated on June 25 as Statehood Day.
  • Czech Republic - Oct. 28 marks Czechoslovakia’s independence from Austria-Hungary in 1918, and Jan 1. Marks the birth of the Czech Republic after the split of Czechoslovakia, and June 25 is Statehood Day, when independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 was declared.
  • Hungary - National Day on March 15 celebrates the 1848 revolution. Constitution Day and St. Stephen’s Day are celebrated on Aug. 20. The Day of the Republic, commemorating the 1956 revolution is celebrated on Oct. 23.
  • Lithuania - Independence in 1918 from the Russian and German empires is celebrated on Feb. 16. The 1990 Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania and independence from the Soviet Union is celebrated on March 11.
  • Poland - Independence Day or Narodowe Święto Niepodległości is celebrated on Nov. 11, recognizing the restoration of Poland's independence in 1918 after 123 years of partitions by Austro-Hungary, Prussia, and Russia. The Constitution of 1791 is celebrated on May 3.
  • Romania - May 9 is Independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1877. Dec. 1 or Union Day recognizes the unification with Transylvania in 1918.
  • Russia - June 12 recognizes the supremacy of Russian laws over Soviet ones in the territory of the RSFSR declared in 1990.
  • Serbia - Feb. 15 marks the beginning of the Serbian revolution against Ottoman occupation in 1804. The first constitution was written in 1835.
  • Slovakia - The July 17, 1991, Declaration of Independence is only a remembrance day. Real independence came on Jan. 1, 1993, after the division of Czechoslovakia. National Uprising Day celebrates the fight against the Nazis on Aug. 29, 1944. Sept. 1 celebrates Constitution Day and independence from Czechoslovakia in 1993.
  • Slovenia - Dec. 26 is known as Independence and Unity Day, marking the secession from Yugoslavia in 1990. June 25 is Statehood Day or National Day, declaring independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.
  • Ukraine - Aug. 24 recognizes independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and the unification of Ukraine on Jan. 22, 1919, also is recognized.