Youth and Sports Day

Turkey Public holiday observed in Turkey


When is Commemoration of Ataturk,
Youth and Sports Day?

Year Day Date
2018 Saturday May 19th
2017 Friday May 19th
2016 Thursday May 19th
2015 Tuesday May 19th
2014 Monday May 19th

Also known as Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day (Atatürk'ü Anma, Gençlik ve spor Bayramı) is a national holiday in Turkey, always celebrated on 19 May.

The holiday commemorates Mustafa Kemal's landing at Samsun on 19 May 1919, which is regarded as the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence.

Mustafa Kemal is now more commonly known as Atatürk. His precise birthday isn't known, but in speeches he referred to 19 May as his birthday, most likely he was referring to the acts of independence, but this means the day is also a time to remember his contributions to modern Turkey.

Following the war of independence, 19 May wasn't celebrated as an event until 1936, when Atatürk himself suggested that 19 May should be remembered with a holiday focusing on the youth and therefore it became a holiday in 1938 when the 'Festival of Youth and Sports' was passed into law. In 1981, to mark the centenary of Ataturk's birth, the holiday was renamed as 'Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day'.

How is Youth and Sports Day celebrated?

To mark the day, children play sports, march in parades and sing and dance. At Samsun, the Turkish flag is brought ashore to remember the events of that day and a wreath is laid at the Mausoleum of Atatürk.

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