There are four major national festivals in Turkey, which are celebrated with great enthusiasm every year by millions of Turkish people. These are National Sovereignty and Children’s Day on April 23, Commemoration of Ataturk Youth and Sports Day on May 19, Victory Day on August 30, and Republic Day on October 29. These national festivals commemorate some of the most important dates related to the independence of Turkey and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. The National Festivals are celebrated everywhere within the nation of Turkey and recognized by the national government.
National Festivals in Turkey
The national festivals in Turkey are official public holidays, which means government offices, educational institutions, banks, post offices, schools, and most private businesses are closed on the festival days. However, most museums, restaurants, and other types of social attractions are open during their regular hours for visitors. The national festivals in Turkey are celebrated in numerous ways, such as music and dance performances in stadiums, public concerts in city squares, marching bands and parades, adorning Turkish flags at homes, schools, and streets, and so on.
April 23, National Sovereignty and Children’s Day
National Sovereignty and Children’s Day (Ulusal Egemenlik ve Çocuk Bayramı) is celebrated every year on April 23 as a national festival in Turkey. Historically, this festival memorializes the opening of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on April 23, 1920. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who is the founder of the Republic of Turkey, dedicated this day to all children of the world to emphasize that children are the future of nations and protectors of independence. Therefore, this holiday has dual importance, celebrating both the sovereignty of Turkey and children’s day.
In 1979, this unique national festival in Turkey was recognized as an international event and world children’s day by UNICEF, making it the very first international children’s day celebrated since 1920. In the scope of celebrations of National Sovereignty and Children’s Day in Turkey, children take seats in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey for one day and symbolically govern the country. In addition, various children’s festivals, musical and dance performances, and nationwide ceremonies take place throughout the country to celebrate the festival.
May 19, Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day
Commemoration of Ataturk Youth and Sports Day (Atatürk’ü Anma, Gençlik ve Spor Bayramı) is a national festival in Turkey, which is celebrated every year on May 19. This holiday memorializes Ataturk’s historic arrival at Samsun, which is the beginning of Turkey’s War of Independence in 1919. Ataturk took the first steps towards the independence of Turkey on this day, that is why millions of people commemorate Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on May 19 every year with this national festival in Turkey. Ataturk also declared this day to be a national holiday and dedicated it to youth and sports, emphasizing the importance and power of young people.
In the scope of celebrations of Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day, people honor the founder of the country by visiting Anıtkabir- his mausoleum in Ankara, young people march and carry the Turkish flag, citizens hang Turkish flags from their windows, and many sports events, activities, and ceremonies are held in every city to observe this national festival in Turkey.
August 30, Victory Day
Victory Day (Zafer Bayramı), also known as Turkish Armed Forces Day is a national festival in Turkey that is annually celebrated on August 30. The Victory Day festival commemorates the victory of the Turkish Army in the Battle of Dumlupinar, which is the battle that led Turkey to independence and ended the war. It is a national festival that is celebrated with pride and honor as it is a time of paying tribute to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and those who fought with him for the freedom and sovereignty of Turkey and celebrate the Turkish Armed Forces.
There are many activities going on throughout the country within the scope of celebrations of Victory Day. the President of Turkey holds an official ceremony in Anıtkabir in Ankara, military parades are held in most cities across the country, including a national parade hold in Ankara, Turkish Air Force, called The Turkish Stars, performs airshow and demonstrating flights, Turkish flags adorn shops and houses and numerous ceremonies and concerts are conducted.
October 29, Republic Day
Republic Day (Cumhuriyet Bayramı) is a national festival in Turkey that celebrates the anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. Following the victory of the Turkish Independence War, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey amended the constitution and the status of Turkey was declared as Republic on October 29 in 1923. On the same day, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was elected as the first president of the Republic of Turkey. In order to commemorate this historic day, every year on October 29, celebrations on a grand scale take place to observe the Republic Day national festival in Turkey. Thousands of people from all around the country come to Anıtkabir with Turkish flags to pay homage to the venerated leader, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
Many cities hold ceremonies and parades with musical and marching bands and flags during the day, and there are concerts, torchlight processions, and firework displays on city squares, parks, and stadiums at night. In Istanbul, the largest and hi̇ghly anti̇ci̇pated firework display is held over the Bosphorus every year. The Republic Day national holiday is considered one of the most important holidays and it is celebrated ardently every year.
May 1, Labor and Solidarity Day as a National Festival in Turkey
Also observed internationally, Labor and Solidarity Day (Emek ve Dayanışma Günü) is a national holiday that is celebrated in Turkey every year on May 1. The Labor and Solidarity day, also known as International Workers’ Day, commemorates the achievements of the labor movement and celebrates laborers and the working classes.
Although Labor and Solidarity Day is not considered as one of the main national festivals in Turkey, which are observed with many celebrations and ceremonies, it is still one of the most important national public holidays of Turkey.