Independence Day Of The Republic Of Kosovo
Independence Day in Kosovo is a holiday observed annually on the 17th of February. It commemorates the declaration of independence the country made on this day in 2008. Kosovo is the second youngest country in the world and the youngest in Europe.
Although Serbia contends that Kosovo’s declaration of independence is illegal, the United Nations’ International Court of Justice ruled on July 22, 2010, that Kosovo did not violate international law and that its separation from Serbia was not illegal. This day is a public holiday, and if it falls on a weekend, it is observed on the following Monday.
The History of Independence Day in Kosovo
During much of the Middle Ages, the area of Kosovo was passed among the Bulgarians, the Byzantine Empire, and the Serbian Empire. In 1389, Kosovo became a part of the Ottoman Empire after the Battle of Kosovo and would remain a part of that empire for the next five hundred years. When the Ottomans were defeated during the Balkan Wars of 1912, Kosovo was ceded to Serbia and Montenegro under the Treaty of London.
When WWII ended, Kosovo became a part of Yugoslavia. When Yugoslavia collapsed in 1991, and tensions escalated between Albanian and Serbian ethnic groups, the Kosovo War was the result of those tensions in 1998. On February 17, 2008, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. Although this was illegal under Serbian law, Kosovo is currently recognized as an independent state by 103 out of 193 UN member states.
Observing Independence Day in Kosovo
This holiday is observed with parades and the flying of the flag of Kosovo. People also celebrate this holiday with food and music. Since this is a public holiday, schools and many businesses are closed. The flag of Kosovo has six stars on it that symbolize the six major ethnic groups in the country. These ethnic groups are Albanians, Serbs, Bosniaks, Turks, Gorani, and Romani.