Title: A Holiday for Kids!
Imagine having a day off of school just for being a kid! April 23rd is a national holiday in Turkey for children. Yes, children! Kids, teachers, parents and almost the entire country have the day to celebrate children like you!
There are carnivals, face painting, free ice cream and even parades all over the country. What makes it even better? The holiday comes during the most beautiful time of year in Istanbul. Right now all of the tulips are in full bloom. Do you know what a tulip looks like? They are flowers that come in every color. A lot of families in Istanbul take their kids to these famous tulip gardens on Children’s Day to have picnics and watch the sunset. Talk about the perfect day off! What would you do if there were a Children’s Day in the United States? Would you go to a park with your parents or friends too? I sure would!
National holidays like the 4th of July and Thanksgiving are so much fun. Friends and family gather together to celebrate a day that represents our culture. In Turkey, celebrating the youth of the nation is another part of their culture. Children’s Day was founded in 1920 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who is known throughout Turkey as the, “Father of the Turks.” He really loved children and believed in education and valuing each and every child. He was a great role model to many people.
Children’s Day is special because just like in the United States, every family and neighborhood has their own traditions. Some people simply enjoy the day off, while others go out in the streets to enjoy music, games and other out door activities. In Istanbul, there are a lot of houses and apartments and not a lot of room to run outside. Because there aren’t a lot of back yards, many families go off to the parks! The parks are huge and have acres of beautiful fountains, benches, tulips and other fragrant flowers. It looks like a scene out of the Disney movie, Alice in Wonderland.
On our Children’s Day vacation, our program director took us to an orphanage in Istanbul where we spent the day with the kids who lived there. We played games, saw a really cool puppet show, and even talked about pop stars that we liked! It is a day that a lot of people reach out to children. That is a tradition that I will remember forever. Although I believe that we should always be aware of how important kids are, I would love for the US to adopt a children’s day of their own. Not only is it another day off, but it’s a day off just for you.
One tradition of Children’s Day is that families will keep their doors open and pass out candy to children who come to their homes. It is almost like Halloween, but instead of dressing up in scary costumes, some children dress like sultans or princesses. Every neighborhood has their own celebration as well.
Why does the community have this tradition?
This holiday was created by the founder of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, as a way to appreciate the youth of the nation. He believed that children played an important role in the future of a country and so this holiday was created for them.
Is this tradition connected to its environment? How?
The holiday happens to coincide with the tulip festivals in Istanbul that last all throughout the month of April. I also learned that this traditional holiday is very important for all children in Turkey because many non-profit organizations and NGOs have fundraisers, auctions, and galas on this day. Money that is raised at these events goes directly to orphanages and other shelters for children in Turkey.