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International Children's Days - When and Why?

If like me, you have lived in different countries long enough to learn about their different special days, you might have wondered how come international Children's day is celebrated at 2 or even 3 different dates. Here is a short summary of the history and meaning of each date.

April 23

National Sovereignty and Children's Day (Ulusal Egemenlik ve Çocuk Bayramı) is a national holiday in Turkey, always celebrated on April 23rd.

In 1927, the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, dedicated April 23rd to the children of Turkey to recognise that children are the future of the nation. With this, Turkey became the first country in the world to celebrate an official Children's Day, as a gift to the children in Turkey and around the world.

June 1

The origin of this holiday goes back to 1925 when representatives from different countries met in Geneva, Switzerland to convene the first "World Conference for the Wellbeing of Children". After the conference, some governments around the world designated a day as Children's Day to highlight children's issues. There was no specific date recommended, so countries used whatever date was most relevant to their culture. Germany, for example, chose to celebrate Children's Day on September 20, while most ex-Soviet states like Romania and Bulgaria kept to June 1.

September 20

German World Children’s Day on September 20 is the official children’s day of Germany, one of two children’s days recognized in Germany every year. The history of this day is very interesting; if you are curious and have the spare time, you can read more about it here.

November 20

UN-declared World Children’s Day as November 20, in 1945– the goal was for each state to focus its attention on children and their celebration, support for children, their education and healthy development.

Some states retained the date of June 1, others, on the recommendation of the UN, chose November 20, and others retained both the June date and adopted the date in November.

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