Commemoration of Ataturk and Youth and Sports Day is a significant public holiday in Turkey that is celebrated annually on May 19th. The day is dedicated to commemorating the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s landing in the Black Sea city of Samsun on May 19, 1919, which led to the war and the eventual founding of modern-day Turkey.
After Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s death, it was decided that May 19th should be dedicated to the commemoration of Ataturk, and Youth and Sports Day. The day is considered a national day of unity and is celebrated with various events such as sports competitions, parades, and cultural festivals. Schools also participate in the celebrations with their own events, such as poetry readings, dance performances, and flag-raising ceremonies.
One of the main traditions of this day is the young Turkish athletes who run with the Turkish flag from the Black Sea Port at Samsun to Turkey’s capital in Ankara over a period of 10 days. This run culminates with the flag being handed to Turkey’s current President during a ceremony. The flag represents the unity and determination of the Turkish people, who are inspired by the bravery and sacrifices of their ancestors during the War of Independence.
Additionally, a minute of silence is observed in memory of Ataturk, and wreaths and flowers are laid at monuments of Mustafa Kamal Ataturk throughout the country, including at Anitkabir, Ataturk’s mausoleum. The main ceremony is held in Ankara, where the President and other high-level officials attend a wreath-laying ceremony at Ataturk’s mausoleum.
In summary, Commemoration of Ataturk and Youth and Sports Day is an important day for Turkish people, serving as a reminder of their nation’s struggle for independence and the sacrifices made by their ancestors. The day is celebrated with various events, and the young Turkish athletes’ run with the Turkish flag is one of the main traditions. The day concludes with a ceremony in Ankara, where a wreath-laying ceremony is held at Ataturk’s mausoleum, and a minute of silence is observed in memory of Ataturk.