Many people don’t realise that the independence of Kosovo only dates back to 2008. As a result, it is still a relatively young holiday in this country. After decades of rule under Serbian law, those in Kosovo celebrate their independence on February 17th each year, which is when the declaration of independence for the country was adopted.
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The History of Kosovo’s Independence
Freedom did not come easily to those in Kosovo. In fact, their bid to gain recognition as the newest country in Europe, after a civil war that ended in 1999 and that killed over 10,000 people, was not an easy one. While they gained independence more than 10 years ago, they had to spend years in limbo under the rule of the United Nations.
This was an exciting victory for the people and now garners a public celebration each year. On this day, the people of Kosovo dance in the streets, fire guns into the air in the capital of Pristina, and celebrate in a unique, yet exciting way.
Some of the other annual events that take place on this day include:
- Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports holds the Literature Awards Ceremony
- Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare along with the American Chamber of Kosovo, German Chamber of Kosovo, and the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce hold a Job Fair at City Hall
- Distinguished personalities receive medals from the President of the Republic of Kosovo
- The traditional Tournament of Futsal takes place thanks to the Football Federation of Kosovo
As you can see, the Independence Day celebration in Kosovo is one marked with many exciting and community-based events. As a result, most stores, all government agencies, and schools are closed for the celebration.
While these events may vary slightly from year to year, for the past several years these have all taken place at various times throughout the day.
What to Expect in Kosovo on Independence Day
Due to the steep road that the people of Kosovo had to follow to gain independence, there are also often protests on this day. As a result, it is best to plan out the events to attend carefully. While most protests are peaceful, it is still necessary that those who plan to attend are aware of the situation.
However, if you are visiting Kosovo on its Independence Day, you can expect an air of excitement and frivolity. While most all businesses remain closed, there are still street vendors offering snacks and food, as well as fun parade fare. You can spend the entire day amongst locals celebrating the independence of this long-suppressed country.