Cyprus, Nicosia

Commemoration Day of Atatürk, Youth, and Sports

Updated: 1 month ago
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One of the most important holidays in Turkey is widely celebrated in Northern Cyprus as well.

День памяти Ататюрка, молодёжи и спорта ТРСК

History of the holiday

Atatürk Memorial Day, Youth and Sports Day is an annual Turkish national holiday celebrated on May 19th to commemorate Mustafa Kemal's landing in Samsun on May 19th, 1919, which is officially considered the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence.

And what about youth and sports? In 1916, the first Gymnastics Festival was held in Istanbul. The anthem of the festival became a modified Swedish folk song "Tre trallande jäntor," which transformed into the Turkish march "Dağ Başını Duman Almış."

According to eyewitness accounts, when Atatürk and his army marched out of Samsun, everyone was singing this song.

Interesting fact: Atatürk was born in 1881, but the exact date of his birth is unknown. In one of his speeches, he stated that he considers May 19th as his birthday, clearly referring to the start of the national struggle in 1919.

By Law No. 3466 dated June 20, 1938, "May 19th" was officially declared as the Festival of Youth and Sports.

Atatürk Memorial Day in Northern Cyprus

On this day, youth (and not only) sing the national anthem, recite poems, hold parades and sports competitions, and also organize cultural events, such as folk dance performances.

Residents of Northern Cyprus highly value Atatürk. Representatives of the government, military personnel, students, and ordinary citizens gather near monuments, public squares, and schools throughout Northern Cyprus to lay wreaths, observe moments of silence, and listen to speeches honoring Atatürk's contribution to the nation's development.

Throughout Northern Cyprus on this day and even a few days before May 19th, the streets are decorated with Turkish flags, banners, and portraits of Atatürk. Bright sports competitions are also organized, taking place in the cities and villages of Northern Cyprus — from football and basketball tournaments to athletics competitions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Atatürk Day a public holiday?

Yes, Atatürk Memorial Day, Youth and Sports Day is a public holiday and is included in the list of public holidays in Northern Cyprus.

Where else is Atatürk Day celebrated?

It is officially celebrated only in Turkey and Northern Cyprus. In some Turkic countries, such as Azerbaijan, festive events are also held. In Greece, May 19th is marked as the Memorial Day of the Greek Genocide victims.

What other Turkish holidays are celebrated in TRNC?

In addition to Atatürk Memorial Day, Youth and Sports Day, in Northern Cyprus, the Turkish Republic Day is also widely celebrated.

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