Celebrated on April 12th annually, Yuri’s Night is an unofficial holiday that celebrates and commemorates space exploration by mankind. It celebrates and is named after the first human to launch into space, Yuri Gagarin, who piloted the Vostok 1 spaceship on April 12, 1961. It also celebrates the first Space Shuttle mission which occurred on this date in 1981. This holiday is considered a worldwide “space party” and is celebrated in almost 60 different countries.
History of Yuri’s Night
On April 12th, 1961, Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was the first human to pilot his ship, the Vostok 1, into Earth’s orbit. He then spent about 2 hours orbiting the Earth. When he returned, he immediately become a celebrity recognized all over the world and was awarded a variety of different medals and titles. One of the titles he received was “Hero of the Soviet Union,” which is the highest honor of the Soviet Union.
This holiday was created by Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides, Trish Garner and George T. Whitesides in 2000. A year later, the first Yuri’s Night was held on April 12th, 2001. This date is significant because it is exactly 40 years after the launch of Vostok 1. This holiday coincides with the Russian holiday Cosmonautics Day – which was started in 1962 – and the International Day of Human Space Flight, a holiday that was created by the United Nation in 2011.
Celebrating Yuri’s Night
Yuri’s Night celebrations are held all over the world and can be found by checking out the world map on yurisnight.net. You can also visit your local space museum or planetarium. You can also spend the day learning about Yuri Gagarin’s space flight, the first Space Shuttle mission or the history of space travel in general.
If you’re really ambitious, you can have a Yuri’s Night party. You can watch movies that are based on a space theme; listen to space-themed music and serve food that is based on a space theme such as dehydrated foods and Tang based drinks.
Yuri’s Night is a great day to broaden your education on the history of human space flight or simply to enjoy some space-themed fun. It’s also a good day to introduce your children to the wonders of space and human space flight.