Every year, April 23 National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, which Atatürk made a present to all the world’s children, is celebrated with the same enthusiasm. So, what is the story of this date, which is a national holiday both in the Republic of Turkey and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus? Here is the story of April 23 National Sovereignty and Children’s Day...
This meaningful day emerged after three national holidays had been combined into the one. The first of them was “April 23 National Holiday”, which symbolized the first meeting of the Grand National Assembly in Ankara, the second was the “National Sovereignty Holiday (Hakimiyet-i Milliye Bayramı)”, which symbolized the abolition of the sultanate, and was celebrated on the 1st of November until 1935 before combined with “April 23 National Holiday”. The last was the “April 23 Children Day” declared by the Turkish Association for Protection of Children (Himaye-i Etfal Cemiyeti) in 1927. After the 1980 coup d’etat, National Security Council gave its present name as “April 23 National Sovereignty and Children’s Day.”
The aim of the National Sovereignty Holiday (Hakimiyet-i Milliye Bayramı)”, which was first celebrated on the 1st of November, then on 23rd of April, was to celebrate the abolition of the sultanate and foundation of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (GNAT). And the purpose of the “Children Day” was to gladden impoverished children left as orphans during the Turkish War of Independence. With the UNESCO’s proclamation of 1979 as International Year of the Children, TRT (Turkish Radio and Television Corporation) started to celebrate this day internationally. Since this year this special public holiday has been internationalized. In 1933 Mustafa Kemal initiated the tradition of the accept children in the Presidential Office, which is still a common practice in Turkey.
April 23 is the public holiday in Turkey as the GNAT was opened on the same day in 1920. With the help of Atatürk’s leadership, the GNAT was opened within a short period and it started to work for the proclamation of the Republic.
As mentioned above, April 23 National Sovereignty and Children’s Day is a national holiday created by combining three other holidays. In the beginning “Children Day” was another day, and “National Sovereignty” and “April 23 Holiday” were separate holidays, they were combined as “Children Holiday”.
April 23 is children day and it is related to the opening of the GNAT; however, the opening of the GNAT was celebrated separately from children day until 1981. Children day was first celebrated after Turkish Association for Protection of Children (Himaye-i Etfal Cemiyeti) had proclaimed this day as “children day” in 1927.
This was the known history of the April 23 National Sovereignty and Children’s Day. Atatürk dedicated this day to all children of the world and pioneered to celebrate this day in every year by children with same joy and cheer.
We wish a happy Children Day to all children and we wish them to spend their lives with health, joy and cheer. Happy April 23 National Sovereignty and Children’s Day.