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National Sovereignty and Children’s Day
April 23 All day
National Sovereignty and Children’s Day that Turkish Republic founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk devoted to children is held on the anniversary of the founding of Turkey’s Grand National Assembly in 1920. This assembly is where the foundations of a new, independent, secular and modern republic that we now know as present-day Turkey were established after the Ottoman Empire’s decline. In 1927, Atatürk added the Children’s Day addendum to the holiday list, making Turkey the first country to devote a national holiday to children.
On this day in Turkey, the custom is for the highest levels of government to relinquish their positions for the day to children, who get to have the purely ceremonial experience of what it is like to be in positions such as a judge or parliamentarian. The Grand National Assembly of Turkey also abides by the tradition and the state broadcaster TRT would organize children’s festivals in which children from around 50 different countries participate. Schools around the country have their students put on performances and towns hold parades.