Mustafa Kemal Atatürk: “Children are the future of our nation and a source of joy and merriness”

Undoubtedly, children are the building blocks of a nation. Giving importance to children is very important both for themselves and for the future of the country and the world. Highly aware of this situation, the Great Leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk declared April 23 as children’s holiday. Let’s talk about the meaning and importance of April 23rd National Sovereignty and Children’s Day.

A day gifted to children…

April 23, 1920 is when the First Grand National Assembly was opened and the sovereignty of the Turkish people was declared. 4 years later, on April 23, 1924, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk asked that this important day be celebrated as a holiday. And exactly five years later, on April 23, 1929, he dedicated this day to children. Since then April 23 started to be celebrated as National Sovereignty and Children’s Day. The tradition of allowing children to take over official roles from adults and the accommodation of children participating in the ceremonies by families in Ankara started in 1929. The official acknowledgement of the day came with the Law on National Holidays and General Holidays enacted on May 27, 1935. It was only after 1979 that the holiday assumed an international dimension. Declaration of the year 1979 as the International Year of the Child by UNESCO made April 23 the holiday of all children around the world. The first celebration was attended by six countries. But attendance increased over time, and now children from more than forty countries participate in the celebrations of April 23rd National Sovereignty and Children’s Day. The 23rd of April has great importance as Turkey is the first and only country in the world that gifted a holiday to children. This is predominantly due to the fact that the Great Leader Atatürk thought children are the future of a nation. His dedication of April 23 to children symbolizes his unshakable trust and love for them. Therefore, the new generations who are the guardians of the republic should be made aware of the significance April 23 holds for the nation. This important day is also an opportunity for strengthening the bonds of love, fraternity and friendship among the children of the world.

This important day keeps gaining in importance with each passing year…

Looking at the archive documents, it is possible to see how the importance attached to April 23rd National Sovereignty and Children’s Day increases every year. For instance, a bill was prepared on April 7, 1932 to impress compassion stamps on letters and telegraphs from April 20 to April 30 owing to the occasion of Children’s Holiday and on April 8, 1936, community centers were asked to hold conferences and shows to mark the occasion of April 23rd National Sovereignty and Children’s Day. April 23rd National Sovereignty and Children’s Day is still celebrated with great enthusiasm across the nation.

Little ladies, little gentlemen! You are all a cherished rose, the star of the future and beacons of prosperity. You will be the instruments of suffusing the nation with rays of enlightenment and progress. Work hard, knowing how important and valued you all are. We have high expectations from you.” – Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

Source: EWH Blog

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