Posted on April 23, 2016
A patriotic holiday AND a celebration of children, on the same date?
Every year on April 23, the people of Turkey commemorate the first gathering of the Turkish Parliament, which happened on this date in 1920.
Okay, that makes sense of the “National Sovereignty Day” part. But where do children come in?
The founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, dedicated April 23 to all the children of the world. Because of this, Turkish kids take seats in the Parliament for the day. They elect a president who addresses the entire nation on TV. Other children are chosen to replace the Prime Minister, the cabinet ministers, and provincial governors. In other words, children symbolically run the nation, for a day.
And it's not just symbolism. The child lawmakers actually discuss issues that are important to them. And the child executives actually sign executive orders about educational and environmental policies.
Also, there are children's festivals held here, there, and everywhere. The state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation brings children from various nations around the world to Turkey; these child guests stay with Turkish families for a week and attend children's festivals.
All of this sounds excellent. I think ALL nations should combine their patriotic holidays with children's days! UNICEF seems to agree and has recognized April 23 as International Children's Day!
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