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International Children's Day

Special Feature: International Children’s Day Around the World

Did you know that International Children's Day is celebrated in all 144 countries around the world?  Were you aware that International Children's Day has it's roots from Massachusetts?  Or that Mustafa Kemal Atatürk of the Republic of Turkey in 1929 was the first national leader to declare it a national holiday?  Were you aware of ...

More...

A brief history of Children’s Day, coming up on November 20th.

 Find out below which day your country celebrates Childrens’ Day.

Origins of Children’s Day

Children's Day is recognized on various days in many places around the world.  It celebrates children globally.

Children's Day was begun on the second Sunday of June in 1856 by the Reverend Dr. Charles Leonard, pastor of the Universalist Church of the Redeemer in Chelsea, Massachusetts.  

Dr. Leonard held a special service dedicated to and for the children.  Dr. Leonard named the day Rose Day, though it was later named Flower Sunday and then Children's Day.

The First Nation to Recognize Children’s Day was the Republic of Turkey

Children's Day has been celebrated nationally since 1923 with the government and the newspapers of the time declaring it a day for the children.  

Children's Day was first officially declared a national holiday by the Republic of Turkey in 1929 with the set date of April 23rd.

However, it was decided that an official declaration was needed to clarify and justify this celebration ...

... and the official declaration was made nationally in 1929 by the founder and the President of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

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International Recognition of Children’s Day

The International Day for Protection of Children is observed in many countries as Children's Day on June 1st since 1950.  

It was established by the Women's International Democratic Federation on its congress in Moscow on November 4, 1949.  

Major global variants include a Universal Children's Holiday on November 20th, by United Nations recommendation.

Universal Children's Day takes place annually on November 20th.  

First proclaimed by the United Kingdom in 1954, it was established to encourage all countries to institute a day ...

... firstly to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children ...

... and secondly to initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world's children.

United Nations Influence

On November 20th, 1959 the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child.  It is observed to promote the objectives outlined in the Charter and for the welfare of children.  

The United Nations adopted the Convention of the Rights of the Child on November 20th, 1989 which appears on the Council of Europe website.  

In 2000, the Millennium Development Goals was created by world leaders in order to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.  

Albeit this applies to all people, the main objective is with regard to children.

UNICEF is dedicated to meeting the six of eight goals that apply to the needs of children so that they are all entitled to basic rights written in the 1989 international human rights treaty.  

UNICEF delivers vaccines, works with policymakers for good health care and education and works exclusively to help children and protect their rights.

In September 2012, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon of the United Nations led the initiative for the education of children.  

Firstly, he wanted every child to be able to attend school and this goal was set for 2015.  

Secondly, he wanted to improve the skill set acquired in schools.  

Finally, educational policies were implemented to promote peace, respect and environmental concern.

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Global Awareness

Universal Children's Day is not just a day to celebrate children for who they are ...

... but to bring awareness to children around the globe that have succumbed to violence in the forms of abuse, exploitation and discrimination.

Children are used as laborers in some countries, immersed in armed conflict, living on the streets and suffering by differences be it religion, minority issues or disabilities.  

Children feeling the effects of war can be displaced because of the armed conflict and/or suffer physical and psychological trauma.

The following 5 violations are described in the term "children and armed conflict":

1) Recruitment and child soldiers

2) Killing/maiming of children

3) Abduction of children

4) Attacks on schools/hospitals

5) Not allowing humanitarian access to children

Currently there are about 153 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 who are forced into child labor.

The International Labour Organization in 1999 adopted the Prohibition and Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour including slavery, child prostitution and child pornography.  

A summary of the rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child can be found on the UNICEF website.

Canada co-chaired the World Summit for children in 1990 and in 2002 the United Nations reaffirmed the commitment to complete the agenda of the 1990 World Summit.  

This added to the UN Secretary-General's report We the Children: End-of Decade review of the follow-up to the World Summit for Children.  

The United Nations children's agency released a study referencing the population increase of children will make up 90 per cent of the next billion people.

Children’s Day Celebrated Around the World

On what day does your country celebrate Children’s Day?

Albania

In Albania, Children's Day is celebrated on June 1st.

Argentina

In Argentina, Children's Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of August.

Armenia

In Armenia, Children's Day is celebrated on second Sunday June.

Australia

Children's Week is an annual event celebrated in Australia during the fourth week in October, from the Saturday before Universal Children's Day to the following Sunday.

It was established as a holiday in 1954.  Until 1977 Child Care Week was held in various Australian states and territories focusing on children in care or those in institutions.  It was held at different times. In 1984 it was decided to coordinate a national week to include all children.

Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, Children's Day is celebrated on March 17th.  It is also the birthday of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.  

Since 2009 the JAAGO Foundation has been celebrating this day throughout its primary education and child well-being campaigns countrywide on November 20th.

Bolivia

In Bolivia, Children's Day is celebrated on April 12th.  It was established as a holiday in 1955.

Bosnia & Herzegovina

In Bosnia & Herzegovina, Children's Day was established as a holiday in 1993.

Brazil

In Brazil, Children's Day is celebrated on October 12th, coinciding with Our Lady of Aparecida's day, the country's Patron Saint holiday.  t is also the day of the discovery of America (Columbus Day), in reference to the "New Continent".

In Brazil, Children's day is celebrated by children receiving presents from their parents.

Bulgaria

In Bulgaria, Children's day is celebrated on June 1st.  Traditionally children receive very special attention from their family, including Birthday-like presents.

In the past all drivers were expected to drive with their lights on all day long to demonstrate extra vigilance over children's safety.  Now it is compulsory to drive with the lights on every day of the year. It was established as a holiday in 1925.

Cameroon

In Cameroon, Children's Day was established as a holiday in 1990.

Canada

National Child Day has been proclaimed across Canada since 1993 to commemorate the United Nations' adoption of two documents centered on children's rights:

1) The United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child on November 20th, 1959 and

2) The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20th, 1989.                                                                                   

The "Child Day Act" outlines human rights to which children, under the age of 18, are entitled by law.  This Act promotes awareness and teaches children that they have rights, like adults do, under the law.  The date of celebration is November 20th.

Central Africa

In Congo, Congo DR, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Chad, Central African Republic, Children's Day is celebrated on December 25th to honor all the children there.

Chile

In Chile, Children's Day is officially recognized and assigned to the first Wednesday of October.  However, it is observed on the second Sunday of August.

It retains none of the international flavor as a day to recognize the needs of or rights of children but is observed merely as a commercial holiday dedicated to buying toys for children.

China

In the People's Republic of China, Children's Day is celebrated on June 1st and is formally known as "the June 1st International Children's Day".

When the People's Republic of China was first established in 1949, the State Council Cabinet designated a half-day holiday for all primary schools on June 1st.   This was later made into a full day's break in 1956 with The Announcement by State Council to make June 1st Children's Day a One-Day Holiday.

Schools usually hold activities such as children's performances, camping trips, or free movies on Children's Day or the day before to allow students to have fun.

Children of civil servants might also receive small gifts from the government until they are fourteen and Civil servants who have children sometimes have a half-day holiday on June 1st to spend more time with their children.

Entrance and set out ceremonies of the Young Pioneers of China are usually held on June 1st as well.  Entrance of children under 14 into the Forbidden City is free on June 1st, while each accompanying adult gets 100% off.

Colombia

In Colombia, Children's Day is celebrated in the last Saturday of April.  It was established as a holiday in 2001.

Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, Children's Day is celebrated on September 9th.

Croatia

In Croatia, Children's Day is celebrated on November 11th.

Cuba

In Cuba, Children's Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of July.

Czech Republic

In Czech Republic, Children's Day is celebrated on June 1st.  It was established as a holiday in 1950.

Ecuador

In Ecuador, Children's Day is celebrated on June 1st.  Generally, children up to 12 years old receive presents.

Egypt

In Egypt, Children's Day is celebrated every November 20th with festivals and games for children.

Finland

In Finland, Children's Day is known as Day of Children's Rights and is celebrated on November 20th.

Former and current Communist and Socialist countries

In Russia, as well as other former Soviet Union states, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan ...

... other former or current communist states, Albania, Angola, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ethiopia, East Germany, Kosovo, Laos ...

... Republic of Macedonia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Tanzania and Yemen ...

... Children's Day is celebrated on June 1st.

This list includes 25 countries which regained independence from USSR, seceded from Yugoslavia Federation, as well as Czechoslovakia and Ethiopia after their respective splits.

Germany

Burning of "trash and filth" literature by students and "Young Pioneers" took place at the 18th Elementary school in Berlin-Pankow (Buchholz), East Berlin, on the evening of International Children's Day, June 1, 1955

In Germany, during the Cold War, Children's Day (Kindertag) was handled quite differently in East and West Germany.

While East Germany (GDR) celebrated International Children's Day (Internationaler Kindertag) on June 1st, West Germany (FRG) celebrated Universal Children's Day (Weltkindertag) on September 20th.  The customs of Children's Day were also significantly different in East and West Germany.

In East Germany, the holiday was introduced in 1950 and was from then held on a yearly basis for the children.  On this day of the year, children would typically be congratulated and would receive presents from their parents and did special activities in school, such as field trips and the like.

In West Germany, Children's Day Universal Children's Day laid its emphasis not on games and presents but more on political efforts to strengthen children's rights.

After the reunification of East and West Germany occurred in 1990, Universal Children's Day has become official for whole Germany.  This, however, was not accepted by large parts of the East German population.

Most parents still celebrate Children's Day on the former date of June 1st and public events pertaining to Children's Day take place on September 20th (Weltkindertag)

Greece

In Greece, Children's Day was established as a holiday in 1989.

Guatemala

In Guatemala, Children's Day is celebrated on October 1st.  It was established as a holiday around 1990.

Honduras

In Honduras, Children's Day is celebrated on September 10th.

Hungary

Children's Week began in Hungary in 1931.  Since 1950 it has been reduced to Children's Day, taking place on the last Sunday in May.

Haiti

In Haiti, Children's Day is celebrated on June 12th.

Hong Kong

Children's Day is celebrated on April 4th.

Indonesia

In Indonesia, Children's Day is celebrated on June 1st.  It was established as a holiday in 1986.

India

In India, Children's Day is celebrated on November 14th on the birthday of the first Prime Minister of independent India, who was fondly called Chacha Nehru (Uncle Nehru) or Chachaji (Uncle).

​Prime Minister Nehru distributed sweets among children at Nongpoh, Meghalaya. He emphasized the importance of giving love and affection to children, whom he saw as the bright future of India.  He wanted to enhance the progress of Indian youth for which he established education institutes like AIIMS, Indian Institute of Technology and IIM.

To give him tribute, India celebrates this festival on November 14th, the day of his birthday.  It was established as a holiday in 1964. Many functions are organized in schools, offices and other organizations.  Most schools hold cultural performances on this day, run by the children themselves.

Teachers also get involved, and may perform songs and dances for their students.

On this day, the State and the Central Government also make it a point to showcase children's films as part of Film festivals organized in many parts of the country.

All of the country, various cultural and social institutions conduct competitions for children.  Children's Day is seen as a day for the kids to engage in fun. Children take part in many activities organized for them.  Children's day is celebrated widely in almost all the schools.

Nehru was very much fond of children, it was his love for children that made Indians to celebrate Children's Day

Ireland

In Ireland, Universal Children's Day is celebrated on June 1st.

Israel

In Israel, Children's Day is celebrated on November 20th.  On that day all parents are dressing up like children and the children like adults.

Japan

Japan's Children's Day is celebrated on May 5th, a National Holiday since 1948, to celebrate the happiness of all children and to express gratitude toward mothers.

There is a long tradition, from the 8th century, to celebrate children's day twice a year; March 3rd for girls and on May 5th for boys.

On March 3rd, also known as the Doll Festival, Japanese people decorate their households with traditional Heian Period doll sets and plum blossom and drink Amazake.  On May 5th they fly carp streamers outside, display Samurai dolls and eat chimaki.

There were some who argued in 1948 that March 3rd should also be a National Holiday.

Kazakhstan

The International Children's Day is celebrated annually on June 1st and is established as a national holiday for children.  Over 3 million children across Kazakhstan celebrate the holiday with special children's events.

North Korea

North Korean Children's Day is celebrated on June 1st as the International Children's Day.  Before 1945, it was celebrated on May.  There is also a day called Festival for establishment of Young Pioneer Corps) on June 6th.

South Korea

In South Korea, May 5th is officially recognized as Children's Day.  Parents often give presents to their children, as well as spend time with them.  The children are taken on excursions to zoos, museums, and various venues of children-oriented entertainment.

Children's Day was first conceived by innovative Korean students and social leaders on the basis of the March 1st Movement to achieve Korean independence from Japanese colonialism.

From Jinju, many people gathered to promote and improve the social status of children and encourage adults to teach awareness of their deprived sovereignty.

In 1923, several groups of students studying in Tokyo agreed to designate May 1st as Children's Day. A predominant intellectual figure, Bang Jeong-hwan, greatly contributed to the popularization of the holiday.  Because it overlapped with Laborer's Day, Children's Day was moved to May 5th.

Bang Jeon Hwan first coined the modern Korean word for children, eorini replacing the previous words aenom and esaekki.

Until 1939, Japanese authorities based in Seoul oppressed the movement to stop Korean social activists congregating for the festival.  After independence in 1945, the movement to respect children was revived.

The children's welfare law written in the constitution officially designated May 5th as Children's Day in 1961.  And by 'the law of holiday of government office', Children's day became a holiday in Korea in 1970.

Liberia

In Liberia, Children's day was established as a holiday in 1991.

Laos

In Laos, Children's Day is celebrated on June 1st.

Maldives

In the Maldives, Children's Day is celebrated on May 10th in Kendhoo.  On this day all the school children go to school to the event to celebrate Children's Day.  The schools that are involved would also organize numerous activities for their pupils.

Mauritius

In Mauritius, Children's Day was established in 1991, as the International Day of the African Child.

Myanmar

In Myanmar, Children's Day is celebrated on February 13th.

Mexico

Children's Day in Mexico started in 1925 and is celebrated on April 30th.  On this day teachers in schools organize the day for their children.  In some schools, lessons are suspended for the day.  They organize games, music and the children bring in their favorite foods to share with others.

This celebration had its origins during the Álvaro Obregón's presidential period after the country joined the Geneva Conventions and were looking after the wellness of the vulnerable children affected by the World War I.

Later, the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child was adopted on November 26, 1924 by the League of Nations recognizing that children are the most affected by the war events.

The United Nations recommended November 20th to celebrate Children's Day throughout the world, but that day coincides with Mexico’s Revolution Day.  

Also, April 30th was selected in order to avoid May 1st (Labor Day) and the celebrations of Cinco de Mayo (The Day of the Battle of Puebla).

Moldova

In Moldova, International Children's Day is celebrated on June 1st.  Since 2016, the day has been declared a public holiday.

Mongolia

In Mongolia, International Children's Day is celebrated on June 1st.

Mozambique

In Mozambique, International Children's Day is also celebrated on June 1st .

Nepal

In Nepal, Children's Day is celebrated on Bhadra 29 according to the Nepali Calendar (September 14th or 15th [Leap Year]).

Earlier during the Shah Rule, Nepal used to observe Children's day on Bhadra 4 on the birthday of H.M. Queen Mother Ratna Rajya Laxmi Devi Shah.

It is celebrated by conducting various programs in various institutions around Nepal. It was established as an official holiday in 1990.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, Children's Day is typically celebrated on the first Sunday in March. It honors children as a taonga (Maori for treasure) and is a day families can relax and share in activities to honor their children.  In 2012, the focus was on peace and aroha (Maori for "love").

New Zealand has high rates of child abuse and family violence.  The Government of New Zealand has recognised this as one of the most important issues for New Zealanders with an event such as Children's Day helping to focus on the practice of sharing, loving and caring as well as honouring tamariki (Maori for "children"). 

Nigeria

Children's Day is celebrated on May 27th in Nigeria.  It was established as a holiday in 1964.  It is a public holiday for Primary and Secondary school children.  Due to the large size of the country, only few group of children (schools or any other organization) are selected to march past in a parade.  In some situations, primary and secondary school children compete in military parades format for a prize which will be given at the end of the competition.  

Religious groups in Nigeria also celebrate children's day in grand style.  The children are usually given treats such as an outing or doing jobs that adults would normally do.  Many private and public organizations usually put together children's party for privileged and less privileged children in a bid to give them a sense of belonging.

It is also a day media where organizations analyze the plight of children in society and where government and non-government agencies make efforts to better the lot of children.

Nicaragua

In Nicaragua, International Children's Day is celebrated on June 1st.  La chayo es la mejor, nos da temblores para perder clases.

Norway

Children's Day in Norway is held on May 17th, the same day as Norwegian Constitution Day with many children's parades simultaneously celebrating both events and thereby emphasizing the importance of children in Norwegian society.

Pakistan

In Pakistan, The National Assembly on December 16th, 2015 passed a unanimous resolution expressing deep grief and sadness over the martyrdom of more than 150 students and teachers of Army Public School Peshawar on December 16th, 2014.

The National Assembly recommended that December 16th should be observed as Pakistan Children Day in memory of the martyrs.  Earlier Children's Day was celebrated on July 1st.  

In Punjab the Child Rights Cell of Department of Social Welfare Punjab collaborates with UNICEF to celebrate this day.  Whereas, the NGO, Voice of Children Islamabad, also celebrates Children's Day and arranges activities for children and parents on that day.  The EPO and SFB also celebrate Children's day and arrange fun and interactive sessions for children and parents.

For Children's Day, there are many festivals and events organised by schools and organisations, that focus on having fun and lively activities that kids and their families can enjoy.  

Most charitable organisations also partake in the festivities, by holding functions or partnering with bigger organisations.  Thus, everyone joins in to make this day a memorable event each year in Pakistan.

Palestinian territories

Children Day is celebrated in the Palestinian territories on April 5th.

Panama

In Panama, Children's Day or Kid's Day was formerly held on November 1st but was changed by Vivian Fernandez de Torrijos, the wife of President Martin Torrijos (2004–2009), to the third Sunday of July.

Paraguay

In Paraguay, Children's Day is celebrated on August 16th, day of the Battle of Acosta Ñu where it is said that 20,000 men from the Triple Alliance were awaited by a Paraguayan force made up of 3,500 children ages six to fifteen and were ordered to hold the Alliance forces while the president Solano Lopez could escape.

Even though Paraguay had been already completely defeated, it is said that Lopez forced them to stay and face the enemy.  Other sources claim that the children volunteered to fight against the Allied forces after their families had been killed by the advancing allied forces (see more in Paraguayan War).

Children's Day is a national holiday, used to remember the event, which happened during the five-year war.

Peru

According to Peruvian law in Peru, Children's Day (Día del Niño Peruano (Ley Nº 27666) , literally Peruvian Children's Day (Law Nº 27666)) is celebrated every second Sunday of April.

There is a second celebration every third Sunday of August promoted as the "International Children's Day".  On this day of the year, Peruvian children would typically be congratulated and would receive presents from their parents.

Since it is celebrated on Sunday, all special activities in school, such as field trips and the like are done the previous Friday.  All major stores offer special discounts on toys, appliances, electronics, clothes, etc.

In the Philippines, Children's Day was established as an official holiday in 1992.

Poland

International Children's Day was established in Poland in 1952 and is celebrated on June 1st.  It coincides with the beginning of meteorological summer and it is usually treated as a special day, free from lessons, as it takes place near the end of the school year.

Schools usually organize special activities for the pupils to celebrate the day and during the first week of June, is a time of festivities organized in parks and entertainment centers for children.  Parents usually buy gifts for their children.

Portugal and former colonies

In Portugal (and also at some of its former colonies such as Guinea-Bissau, Macau, Cape Verde, East Timor, Angola, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe), Children's Day (Dia da Criança) is celebrated on June 1st.

Romania

In Romania, Children's Day (Romanian: "Ziua Copilului") is celebrated on June 1st. On June 1st, 2012, International Children's Day was celebrated by the Romanian Government at the Ministry of Labor, Family and Social Protection.  Almost 100 children in attendance received a Minister of Children diploma celebrating with parents and grandparents.  

According to the Law 220/2016, starting with 2017, Children's Day was officially declared a public holiday.  Various events are organized.

Russian Federation

In Russia, Children's Day is celebrated on June 1st.  It was established as a holiday in 1949.  Children of the Vladivostok, Russian Federation celebrated International Children's Day.  On International Children's Day in 2011, parents entered their infants in a baby crawling contest competition which was held in Volgograd, 970 km south east of Moscow. 

Singapore

Traditionally, October 1st is the day which Singapore officially celebrates Children's Day.  A similar event celebrated every year is Youth Day, which is celebrated on the first Sunday of July every year.  Kindergarten and primary school children in Singapore do not have to attend school on this day.  From 2011, Children's Day was celebrated on the first Friday of October.

South Africa

In South Africa, Children's Day is on the first Saturday of November but not really celebrated in any significant way.

South Sudan

In South Sudan, Children's Day is celebrated on December 23rd, the birthday of South Sudan's "greatest child" according to tribal mythology.

Slovakia

In Slovakia, International Children's Day is celebrated on June 1st.  Children get a free entrance to some attractions like zoos.

Spain

In Spain, Children's Day is celebrated on the 2nd Sunday of May, and it is called "Día del niño".

Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, Children's Day is celebrated on October 1st.

Sudan

In Sudan, Children's Day is celebrated on December 23rd, the birthday of North Sudan's "greatest child" according to tribal mythology.

Suriname

In Suriname, Children's Day or Kinderdag is celebrated on December 5th.  Generally, children up to 12 years old receive presents from their parents.

Sweden

In Sweden, Children's Day is celebrated on the first Monday of October.  It was Gustav Rosén who is credited with starting a Children's Day in Umeå in northern Sweden in 1905.

Switzerland

In Switzerland, Children's Day was established as a holiday in 1925.

Taiwan

The Republic of China ​​​​or Taiwan designated April 4th as Children's Day pursuant to Article 5 of the Order to Implement Commemoration Days and Holidays.  The holiday dates back to 1931 and since then schools often hold special activities in order to celebrate the occasion.

Because of pressure from parents demanding to accompany their children in the celebration, Taiwan celebrated Women's Day together with Children's Day on April 4th 1991.   Since then, April 4th has been known as "The Combined Holidays of Women's Day and Children's Day". It has been a public holiday of Taiwan, ROC since 2011. 

Thailand

Thailand National Children's Day is celebrated on the second Saturday in January.  It was established as a holiday in 1955.  Known as "Wan Dek" in Thailand, Children’s Day is celebrated to give children the opportunity to have fun and to create awareness about their significant role towards the development of the country.

Usually, His Majesty the King gives advice addressing the children while the Supreme Monarch Patriarch of Thailand gives a moral teaching.  The Prime Minister also usually gives each Children's Day a theme and a slogan.  

Many Government offices are open to children and their family.  This includes the Government House, the Parliament House Complex and various Military installations.  These events may include a guided tour and an exhibition.  A notable example is the guided tour at the Government House, where children have an opportunity to view the Prime Minister's office and sit at the bureau.

Many organizations from both government and commercial sectors have celebration activities for children.  The Royal Thai Air Force usually invites children to go and explore the aircraft and the Bangkok Bank distributes stationery, such as pens, pencils and books to every child that enters the bank as a community service. Children can enter zoos or ride buses for free.

There is a Thai saying that states, "Children are the future of the nation, if the children are intelligent, the country will be prosperous."

Trinidad and Tobago

International’s Men Day on November 19th followed by Universal Children's Day on November 20th form a 48-hour celebration of men and children respectively in Trinidad and Tobago.

Tunisia

Children's Day in Tunisia is celebrated on January 11th every year.  It was established as a holiday in 1995.  It is a day in which Tunisians observe the rights of children and remind themselves that children are the future builders and developers of the country and the world.

Turkey

The Grand National Assembly of Turkey was established on April 23rd 1920 and to commemorate the event, April 23rd was proclaimed a national holiday in 1921.  Since 1927 it has also become Children's Day (Turkish: Ulusal Egemenlik ve Cocuk Beyrami literally "The Holiday of National Sovereignty and Children") an official holiday dedicated to the children of Turkey and (from 1979 on) the world.

In addition to holding many domestic celebratory events such as stadium performances, Turkey also houses TRT International April 23 Children's Festival where groups of children from other countries are invited to participate in the festivities while staying at Turkish families' homes.

Tuvalu

The first Monday in August is National Children's Day in Tuvalu.  This public holiday is called in Tuvalu Aso Tamaliki.

Ukraine

Children's Day (Ukrainian: День захисту дітей, Den zakhystu ditey, literally "day of children's protection") in Donetsk is celebrated on June 1st.  In the Ukraine, Children's Day is set in accordance with the presidential decree of Ukraine from May 30th, 1998 № 568/98.

United Kingdom

Children's Day was established as a holiday in the United Kingdom in 1954.

United States

Children's Day observations in the United States predate both Mother's and Father's Day, though a permanent annual single Children's Day observation is not made at the national level.

In 1856, Rev. Charles H. Leonard, D.D., then pastor of the First Universalist Church of Chelsea, Mass., set apart a Sunday for the dedication of children to Christian life and for the re-dedication of parents and guardians to bringing-up their children in Christian nurture.  This service was first observed the second Sunday in June.

The Universalist Convention at Baltimore in September 1867, passed a resolution commending churches to set apart one Sunday in each year as Children's Day.  

The Methodist Episcopal Church at the Methodist Conference of 1868 recommended that second Sunday in June be annually observed as Children's Day.   The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in 1883 designated "the second Sabbath in June as Children's Day."

Also in 1883, the National Council of Congregational Churches and nearly all the state bodies of that denomination in the United States passed resolutions commending the observance of the day.  About this time many other denominations adopted similar recommendations.

Chase's Calendar of Events cites Children's Sunday and notes that The Commonwealth of Massachusetts issued an annual proclamation for the second Sunday in June.

Numerous churches and denominations currently observe the second Sunday in June including the African Methodist Episcopal Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

Children & Youth Day in Hawaii started in 1994 when the Hawaii Legislature became the first to pass a law to recognize the first Sunday in October as "Children's Day".  In 1997, the Legislature passed another landmark law designating the entire month of October as "Children and Youth Month".

In 1996, author Pat Mora, after learning about the annual Mexican tradition of celebrating April 30th as El día del niño, the Day of the Child proposed an annual celebration in the U.S. of El día de los niños, El día de los libros/Children's Day, Book Day, thus, honoring children and connecting them to literacy, essential in a democracy.

Assistance starting this community-based, family literacy initiative was provided by REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking.  

Often known as Día, because it is both a daily commitment and an annual April celebration, Children's Day, Book Day, has grown to link all children to books, languages and cultures.  A major partner is the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

Every year, across the country, hundreds of libraries, schools, and community organizations, etc. hold culminating April Children's Day, Book Day celebrations that unite communities, creating an annual tradition much like Mother's Day and Father's Day.

Children's Day was proclaimed by President Bill Clinton to be held on October 11th 1998 in response to a letter written by an eight year old girl, Kierstin Gonzales inquiring if he would make a Children's Day to celebrate youth.

"National Child's Day" was proclaimed by President George W. Bush as June 3rd, 2001 and in subsequent years on the first Sunday in June.

Since 2009, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has issued proclamations proclaiming the second Sunday in June as Children's Day as had the previous governor in 2007 and 2008.  The Mayors of Aurora and Batavia, Illinois, also have issued proclamations.

On April 23rd 2011, Executive of King County, WA declared April 23rd as International Children's Day.

Children's Day celebrations of Turkish Community in California lead to State of California recognizing the last Saturday of April as the Children's Day.

Uruguay

Children's Day in Uruguay is the second Sunday in August.  January 6th is Epiphany (Reyes) and is also celebrated as Children's day.

Vanuatu

In Vanuatu, Children's Day is celebrated on July 24th.  "Stop violence against children" and "Give a child the chance to express their opinion today".  

After the march there are speeches and activities organized by schools, including a dance.  Then, after midday, children return home to spend time with their parents for the rest of the day.

Children's Day is a public holiday, set up following a recommendation of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.  A group of people in the United Nations monitor and protect children's rights.

A committee, with both adult and child members, organizes activities.  In the past, a committee of adults has chosen the theme – but in the future children may help choose it.

Children's Day originally took place only in the capital of Vanuatu but it has now been extended to all 6 provinces.  Schools, churches, local governments of the provinces and other local organizations all organize activities.

Save the Children supports one Children's Day activity in each province, selecting it from the many requests they receive for support.  In 2008, one of the activities supported by Save the Children was a sports day between many different schools.

Parents and caretakers have been supportive of Children's Day activities.  Many parents come to activities with children.  For example, in one province, children and parents from 5 different schools came together for a shared lunch.

Some parents give their children presents for Children's Day – however, Save the Children try to spread the message that it doesn't matter if a parent can't afford to buy their child a present as the real aim of Children's Day is for parents and children to spend the day together and work together to reconcile their problems.

Venezuela

In Venezuela, Children's Day is celebrated the third Sunday of July.

Vietnam

In Vietnam, Children's Day is celebrated on June 1st as ICD and on the full moon of the 8th lunar month during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Zimbabwe

Children's Day was established as a holiday in Zimbabwe in 1991 (Day of the African Child).

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Related: Historic Children’s Festival Pre-dating the Republic of Turkey’s First Children’s Day, Nationally Celebrated Since 1923.

Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) International Children's Festival is a festival which is celebrated on April 23rd each year in Turkey.  

This festival is gathering the children from all over the world under the motto of "Love, Friendship and Peace".  The festival is organized by Turkish Radio and Television Corporation.

The April 23rd Children’s Festival is a children’s festival which was dedicated to Turkish children by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Republic of Turkey, to mark the opening of the Assembly.  

The festival has been celebrated internationally since 1979.  The Children’s Festival was first celebrated in Turkey on April 23rd 1920, when the Turkish Grand National Assembly was opened.

The Festival intends to contribute creation of a world where children can live peacefully by developing sentiments of fraternity, love and friendship.  

The greatest aspiration of Atatürk, who saved his country from occupations and introduced reforms in all fields, hence changing the viewpoint of the nation was modernization.

In other words, an industrialized country, that the industry of the Republic was founded upon, was out of date and poorly equipped.

Atatürk endeavored to achieve modernization through educational reform and thus entrusted Turkey to the children and the youth.

He knew that modernization could not be achieved in a rapid way. Therefore, he presumed that the Turkish children educated at schools resting upon positive sciences could attain his goals.  

Atatürk believed in his nation and lived for what he believed.  This is the main philosophy of April 23rd.

As can be seen, the educated children and youth have made great contributions to the creation of modern Turkey.  Present-day Turkey has evolved over the years and has attained a level of a modern state.

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Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT)

As UNESCO proclaimed 1979 as the International Year of the Child, director of children’s programs of TRT Ankara Television Tekin Özertem and his assistant Canan Arısoy developed a project aimed at embracing all the children in the world.

Upon approval of the project by top executives of the TRT Corporation, preparations for the organization commenced.  Thus, the first celebration of TRT International April 23rd Children’s Festival took place on April 23rd, 1979 in Turkey, with participation of five countries, namely the USSR, Iraq, Italy, Romania and Bulgaria.

Today, TRT International April 23rd Children’s Festival is celebrated every year with participation of approximately 50 countries.  From 1979 to 2000, celebrations were performed in the capital city Ankara. In the following years, celebrations took place in Turkey’s various major cities such as İzmir, İstanbul and Antalya.

Nane Annan

Nane Annan, spouse of the former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, became the honorary guest of the celebrations on April 23rd 2000.  In her speech at the gala, Mrs Annan expressed her pleasure at participating in the celebrations and passed greetings from her spouse Kofi Annan.  Mrs. Annan also called on the entire world to say “Yes” to the aspiration of children.

After her speech, “the common declaration of the children from 40 countries”, which was approved by the children at the International Children’s Congress on April 18th, was read in English and Turkish.  The declaration was presented to Mrs. Annan to hand it over to Kofi Annan.

TRT International Children's Festival

Children aged between 8 and 14 attend the international April 23rd children’s festival.  The program approximately covers a period from April 16th to April 26th. The invited groups are made up of nearly 20 children and 6 executive leaders.  By April 15th, guests arrive in the city where the celebrations will take place.

TRT appoints a guide for each group and the guides enable coordination with group leaders.  Through primary schools in the festival city, each group is entertained by families of their Turkish peers in a warm and affectionate environment.

In this way, children of the world recount positive traits of the Turkish nation to their own families and friends when they return to home countries.  Doubtlessly, this makes Turkish people gratified.

Festival Week begins with a Festival Parade.  During the parade, guests wear their traditional outfits, perform their traditional music and dance on the largest street of the city.  In the following days, guest countries perform outdoor shows in large parks and embrace with Turkish people. 

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Festival Week

Festival week continues with the children’s visit to the mausoleum of Atatürk, the great leader who dedicated this festival to Turkish children.  Then, the children are welcomed by The President of the Turkish Republic, President of the Turkish National Grand Assembly and the Director General of TRT.

On April 22nd, all the children gather to rehearse the gala.  When the big day comes, the gala of the TRT April 23rd Children’s Festival takes place.  In the gala, which lasts nearly four hours and is broadcast live, all the groups wear their national costume’s and present three-minute performances accompanied with their traditional music.

The gala continues with the children conveying the greetings that they have brought from their home countries and ends with a hand-in-hand dance of all the flowers of the world embraced in sentiments of peace and friendship.

Through picnics and excursions on April 24th and 25th, the unison and fraternity of the world and Turkish children reach the peak.  These activities contribute to the promotion of Turkey and the hospitable Turkish people.

When the last day arrives April 26th, sad hours for children have come.  Bursting into tears, they begin to return to their home countries; leaving behind their Turkish brothers and sisters but taking along peace and friendship with them.  In a flood of emotions, the festival week comes to an end.

Some of this article has been sourced from Wikipedia.  Contents have been compiled, edited and remixed.                                                             https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/.                                                                                                                                            Secondary sources include the United Nations, Unicef, Time, The Guardian, Christian Science Monitor, The Huffington Post, CNN, The Edmonton Journal and The Times of India.

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About the Author Mark Blaise

Mark Blaise is an idealistic, socially conscious content creator on a mission to raise people’s awareness while promoting social justice for all. He enjoys writing inspiring and thought provoking posts on social issues, The Golden Rule, personal growth and other amazingly helpful "stuff". His goal is to inspire you to grow and to be a better person by spreading more kindness, showing more compassion, doing unto others, giving back, contributing and helping make the world a better place, while living a truly happy, more fulfilling and inspired life.

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