228 Memorial Day

228 Memorial Day, also known as Peace Memorial Day, is a remembrance day in Taiwan that marks the date of the uprising in 1947 that was violently suppressed by the Republic of China. This event, known as the 228 Massacre or incident, marks the beginning of the “White Terror,” a period during which tens of thousands of Taiwanese went missing, were killed, or were imprisoned.

This incident is considered the most important event in Taiwan’s modern history and provided the necessary momentum for the Taiwan independence movement. This day is a commemorative public holiday that remembers the victims of the 228 Massacre and is observed on February 28th.

The History of 228 Memorial Day

In 1945, when the Japanese were defeated in WWII, the Allied Forces gave temporary control of Taiwan to the Republic of China so they could administer the surrender of Japanese troops and handle the local administration of the country.

This resulted in a situation where the people of Taiwan began to feel resentful of the administration of the country by China because they felt it was rife with corruption. On February 27, 1947, this resentment came to a head when a dispute between a Chinese official and a cigarette vendor led to open rebellions and civil unrest.

The Chinese responded to the civil unrest harshly by using extreme military force and by putting the country under martial law. It is estimated that between 10,000 and 30,000 Taiwanese were killed during the February 28th massacre—an event that is now known as the 228 Massacre.

This date was only the beginning, however. It marked the start of the White Terror period in Taiwan, during which thousands of Taiwanese were imprisoned, killed, or simply disappeared. For many years, the 228 Massacre was an event that was not addressed publicly, but that changed in 1995 when a Taiwanese head of state made February 28th an official holiday.

Observing 228 Memorial Day

This commemorative holiday is celebrated with memorials and the laying of wreaths on monuments across Taiwan. Every February 28th, the president of Taiwan also rings a commemorative bell in memory of all the victims of the February 28 Massacre.

Where is it celebrated?
Taiwan (National holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
February 28 Wednesday
Next year (2025)
February 28 Friday
Last year (2023)
February 28 Tuesday