Today is the (Inter)National Children’s Day and is celebrated like a national holiday in Turkey. People don’t go to work and as it is a long weekend this year, most of them have traveled -unless they were bound for a European district influenced by the volcanic activities of the past week.
The history of this day goes as far as the 1920s. When Atatürk founded the Turkish Parliament on the 23rd of April in 1920. The significance of this to the Turkish community was immense. The Parliament was the first sign of the National will and decree of the Turkish community (which was officially still under the rule of the Sultan and facing a sever powerplay of the European and Western forces that wanted to part away and share the country amongst themselves).
Atatürk devoted 23rd of April to the children precisely because he believed that the younger generations were those who were going to carry the vehemence of the National will and decree into the future. But, he did not devote the day to the Turkish children only; Atatürk announced that 23rd of April would be the Children’s Day for all the children in the world.
Since then the 23rd of April is celebrated by childrens and adults in Turkey. The children take parts in national organizations where they dance and participate in championships or sporting contests. Most of these events are organized by the municipality of each city and district; and the celebrations usually take place in big areas such as stadiums. The schools also celebrate this day. Children go to school either for a half day or not at all; but in either case they need to participate in the celebrations organized by their schools.
So if you are in Turkey on the 23rd of April, make a child happy…