National Heroes' Day in East Timor in 2020

National Heroes' Day in East Timor in 2020
Statue of National Hero, Nicolau Lobato.

  How long until National Heroes' Day?
This holiday next takes place in 92 days.
  Dates of National Heroes' Day in East Timor
2022 East Timor Sat, Dec 31 National Holiday
2021 East Timor Fri, Dec 31 National Holiday
2020 East Timor Thu, Dec 31 National Holiday
2019 East Timor Tue, Dec 31 National Holiday
2018 East Timor Mon, Dec 31 National Holiday
  Summary
A day to honour the first President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Nicolau Lobato, on the anniversary of his death in combat in 1978.

When is National Heroes Day?

National Heroes Day is a public holiday in East Timor on December 31st.

This holiday commemorates the life of an East Timorese national hero on the anniversary of his death in 1978.

History of National Heroes Day

Until 2017, National Heroes Day was observed on December 7th each year. A day to remember all those lost their lives during the Indonesian occupation, this holiday was renamed as Memorial Day in 2017 and a new national holiday for National Heroes was announced for December 31st.

This new holiday honours the President of the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin), the first President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and the Timorese Army's Commander-in-Chief, Nicolau Lobato, on the anniversary of his death in combat in 1978, in the valley of Mindelo, Same.

Nicolau dos Reis Lobato was born in 1946 in Soibada, Portuguese Timor. He became the first Prime Minister of East Timor on November 28th 1975 when East Timor declared its independence from Portugal. His tenure as Prime Minister would only last nine days, until December 7th. 

When the Indonesian military invaded East Timor on December 6th, Lobato, along with other key Fretilin leaders, fled into the Timorese hinterland to lead the armed resistance against the occupying forces.

Three years later, on December 31st 1978, Lobato was ambushed by Indonesian special forces. He was killed after being shot in the stomach, and his body was brought to Dili to be inspected by the Indonesian press. What then happened to his body is unknown, and the East-Timorese government still continues to pursue the issue with the Indonesian government, so that his remains can be given a proper burial.

Nicolau Lobato was made an East Timorese national hero. The presidential palace and the East Timor International Airport are named in his honour.

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