Youth and Sports Day in Turkiye in 2024

Youth and Sports Day in Turkiye in 2024
  How long until Youth and Sports Day?
Youth and Sports Day
  Dates of Youth and Sports Day in Turkiye
2025 Turkiye Mon, May 19 National Holiday
2024 Turkiye Sun, May 19 National Holiday
2023 Turkiye Fri, May 19 National Holiday
2022 Turkiye Thu, May 19 National Holiday
2021 Turkiye Wed, May 19 National Holiday

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, dedicated May 19th to the youth of Turkish nation as Youth and Sports Day, a national holiday that sees young people stage sporting and cultural activities and official ceremonies organized across the nation.

  Local name
Atatürk'ü Anma Gençlik ve Spor Bayramı

When is Youth and Sports Day?

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 May 19th.

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

History of Youth and Sports Day

Mustafa Kemal is now more commonly known as Atatürk. His precise birthday isn't known, but in speeches he referred to May 19th 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, May 19th wasn't celebrated as an event until 1936, when Atatürk himself suggested that May 19th 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'.

In a statement released in 2019 to mark the centenary of the events of 1919, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan described the day as "the first step taken towards freedom and independence."

"May 19 is the day when Mustafa Kemal Atatürk arrived in Samsun and effectively initiated our national struggle 100 years ago. May 19 is the day when the national will, the spirit of unity and solidarity and an unwavering faith revived to eradicate the occupying forces from our land. May 19 is the day when our nation stood back up. May 19 is the first step taken towards freedom and independence," the statement said.

In the statement addressed to youth, the president added: "Dear youth… We believe in you. Today, as was the case yesterday, we stand ready to listen to you to make your demands, expectations and dreams come true and to build a future that will make you proud. Let's join hands and further elevate our country."

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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