Martyr's Day in Myanmar in 2020

Martyr's Day in Myanmar in 2020
Monument of General Aung San Image via Deposit Photos

  How long until Martyr's Day?
This holiday next takes place in 12 days.
  Dates of Martyr's Day in Myanmar
2022 Myanmar Tue, Jul 19 National Holiday
2021 Myanmar Mon, Jul 19 National Holiday
2020 Jul 19, Jul 20
MyanmarMon, Jul 20National Holiday (additional day)
MyanmarSun, Jul 19National Holiday
2019 Myanmar Fri, Jul 19 National Holiday
2018 Myanmar Thu, Jul 19 National Holiday
  Summary
Marks the assassination of Aung San and several other cabinet members in 1947

When is Martyrs' Day in Myanmar?

Martyrs' Day, also known as Arzarni Day, is observed as a public holiday in Myanmar on July 19th.

Martyrs' Day commemorates the assassination of General Aung San and several other cabinet members in 1947.

History of Martyrs' Day

In 1886, Myanmar (then called Burma) came under British control. From the earliest days of colonisation, there was a strong feeling of resentment against the rule of the British.

Just before the outbreak of World War II, there had been some moves towards autonomy in 1937, when Burma became a separately administered colony of Britain, with Ba Maw appointed as the first Prime Minister and Premier of Burma.

Following the end of World War II, the Panglong Agreement was reached on February 12th 1947, which paved the way for the unification of Burma as an independent state.

An interim government was formed with General Aung San (whose daughter is Aung San Suu Kyi) as Prime Minister.

On July 19th 1947, gunmen went into a cabinet meeting that was being held at The Secretariat in downtown Yangon and shot dead Aung San and seven other key leaders of the interim government. The assassinations were planned by a political rival, U Saw. Within a few months, U Saw was found guilty and executed.

Burma gained its independence from British colonial rule on January 4th 1948. The Secretariat was used as the seat of the first independent Burmese government.

Aung San who is affectionately known by the single reference, Bogyoke (meaning "Major General"), is remembered as the driving force behind the movement which saw the Union of Burma achieve independence. 

How is Martyrs' Day commemorated?

Martyrs’ Day is probably Myanmar’s second most important public holiday.

On July 19th, to mark the exact time of the shooting, car horns are sounded in the streets of Myanmar at 10.37am.

High-level government officials will visit the Martyrs’ Mausoleum in Yangon, which is dedicated to Aung San and the others who were killed.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the General's daughter was kept under house arrest for 15 years and Martyrs' Day was ignored by the military government. With Aung San Suu Kyi's release and role in the governing of Myanmar, attitudes have changed and military chiefs now participate in the ceremonies for Martyrs' Day and attend a Buddhist prayer service at Aung San Suu Kyi’s residence.

On Martyrs' Day in 2020, Central Bank of Myanmar will issue new 500-kyat banknotes carrying the image of Aung San. Banknotes with the image of Aung San, were first printed in 1958 — 10 years after he was assassinated. Successive banknotes carrying Aung San’s portrait were gradually removed from circulation amid the rising popularity of the pro-democracy movement following in 1988. In November 2017, lawmakers proposed to bring back the image of Aung San onto banknotes. As such, the Central Bank of Myanmar reintroduced the image of General Aung San on 1,000-kyat banknotes in January 2020 after a three-decade absence.

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