Memorial Day in East Timor in 2024

Memorial Day in East Timor in 2024
View of the beach around Fatucama Cristo Rei Dili, Timor Leste. Image by dodohawe , via 123RF
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Memorial Day
  Dates of Memorial Day in East Timor
2025 East Timor Sun, Dec 7 National Holiday
2024 East Timor Sat, Dec 7 National Holiday
2023 East Timor Thu, Dec 7 National Holiday
2022 East Timor Wed, Dec 7 National Holiday
2021 East Timor Tue, Dec 7 National Holiday

A day to honour the contribution made by martyrs, combatants and veterans who have fought for the independence of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.

When is Memorial Day in East Timor?

Memorial Day is a public holiday in the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste on December 7th each year. This is a fixed date holiday and is always followed by the Day of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception on December 8th creating a two-day holiday period.

This holiday honours those who took part in the resistance against Indonesian occupation and fought for independence

History of Memorial Day in East Timor

Colonised by the Portuguese in the 16th century, East Timor declared its independence from Portugal on November 28th 1975.

Independence proved to be very short-lived as Indonesia invaded nine days later and East Timor was declared as a province of Indonesia in 1976.

The struggle to regain independence began almost immediately and would last until 1999. 

Though definitive figures are hard to come by, The Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor estimated a minimum of 102,000 conflict-related deaths during the occupation. The commission estimated that about 18,000 people were killed in the fighting and over 80,000 died from famine and illness.

The date of the Indonesian invasion, December 6th 1975 was chosen as a day to honour and remember those who perished during the time of the occupation.

In November 1991, over 250 young people attending a funeral were killed in the Santa Cruz massacre. This event is commemorated on National Youth Day.

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