Anniversary Of The Decease Of M. R. Štefanik

Observed annually on May 4th, the anniversary of the death of Milan Rastislav Štefánik is an official remembrance day in Slovakia. This day honors one of the main members of the Czechoslovak National Council and is considered the founding father of Slovakia. The holiday is observed on the anniversary of his death, which occurred on May 4, 1919, just a few short months after Czechoslovakia had declared its independence.

The holiday is observed with special presentations, speeches by politicians and civic leaders, and exhibitions. There are also special ceremonies held at Bradlo Hill, where his remains are buried.

A Brief Biography of Milan Rastislav Štefánik

Milan Rastislav Štefánik was born on July 21, 1880, in what was Košariská in the Kingdom of Hungary. In 1898, he began studying construction engineering in Prague, and two years later, he transferred his studies to Charles University. While there, he attended lectures on philosophy, astronomy, optics, mathematics, and physics. He graduated with a doctorate in philosophy in 1904.

In 1905, he climbed Mont Blanc to observe the Moon and Mars. He then went on an expedition to Alcossebre, Spain, to observe a full eclipse. He gained quite an impressive reputation in the French Scientific Society and worked with several French academics in the field of astronomy and solar research. In 1907, he received the Prix Jules Janssen Award—the highest award of the French astronomical society.

During WWI, Štefánik came to believe that the defeat of Austria-Hungary and Imperial Germany would allow the Slovaks and Czechs to gain independence from Austria-Hungary after the war. So, he decided to join the French army and became an aviator.

During the war, he and the Czechoslovak resistance began to organize the Czechoslovak Legions to fight against Germany and Austria-Hungary. His efforts took him to Russia and the U.S. as the Czechoslovak Minister of War. It was his efforts that made the Entente recognize the Czechoslovak National Council as the de facto government. On May 4, 1919, his plane crashed near Ivanka pri Dunaji.

Observing the Anniversary of the Death of Milan Rastislav Štefánik

This holiday is observed with a special ceremony on Bradlo Hill in Slovakia, where Štefánik’s remains are buried, and there are also special events held all across Slovakia. There are exhibits, parades, and other special events held on this day.

Where is it celebrated?
Slovakia (Observance)
When is it?
This year (2024)
May 4 Saturday
Next year (2025)
May 4 Sunday
Last year (2023)
May 4 Thursday