National Sovereignty and Children's Day

Turkey Public holiday observed in Turkey

Turkish Flag

When is National Sovereignty and Children's Day?

Year Day Date
2018 Monday April 23rd
2017 Sunday April 23rd
2016 Saturday April 23rd
2015 Thursday April 23rd
2014 Wednesday April 23rd

National Sovereignty and Children's Day (Ulusal Egemenlik ve Çocuk Bayramı) is a national holiday in Turkey, always celebrated on 23 April.

The holiday commemorates the first opening of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey at Ankara in 1920.

On 23 April 1920, during the War of Independence, the Grand National Assembly met in Ankara to begin to lay the foundations of the new Turkish republic after the end of the Ottoman Empire.

To mark the event, 23 April was proclaimed a national holiday in 1921.

The founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, dedicated 23 April to the children of Turkey to recognise that children are the future of the nation.

Since 1927 it has also become Children's Day. In 1979, UNICEF recognised this important national day as an international event.

To mark National Sovereignty and Children's Day, School children participate in week-long ceremonies marked by singing and dancing performances in sports fields across Turkey, culminating with a large performance in the national soccer stadium in Istanbul.

A unique way the day is celebrated is that children take over the government of Turkey for the day. Children replace the normal members of the Grand National Assembly and hold a special session to discuss children's issues and even sign executive orders relating to educational or environmental policies.

Since the recognition by UNICEF in 1979, efforts have been made to internationalise the day. Many countries will send groups of children to join in the festivities representing their local culture and even attend the children's Grand National Assembly.

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