Anniversary Of The Revolution Of The King And The People

The Anniversary of the Revolution of the King and the People is a holiday observed annually on August 20th in Morocco. Also known as Revolution Day, this holiday commemorates the exile of Sultan Mohammed V on this date in 1953. This holiday came about as a result of discontent with French rule in Morocco and the rise of nationalism within the Istiqlal Party—a party working towards independence for the country.

It was also agitated by the heavy-handed approach of the French in trying to handle the situation, an attempt that was unsuccessful. This was a watershed moment in Moroccan history, and that’s why it is observed every year.

The History of the Anniversary of the Revolution of the King and the People

Morocco became a French protectorate in 1912 under the Treaty of Fez and was administered by a French Resident-General. This was a departure from the original rule of the country. Before becoming a French protectorate, the country was ruled by a sultan, but that position had become nothing more than a figurehead.

Resentment towards this arrangement began to grow in Morocco, reaching a boiling point during the 1940s. This is when the Istiqlal Party began to gain power and push for an independent Morocco.

To resolve the situation, the French asked Sultan Mohammed V to sign a “pact of surrender” as a symbolic act to quell the nationalism, but the sultan refused. On August 20th, 1953, the French exiled the Sultan to Corsica and then eventually to Madagascar.

The French replaced the sultan with Mohammed Ben Aarafa. Unfortunately for the French, this only resulted in the populace uniting against them in armed resistance. In November 1955, Mohammed V returned to Morocco and received support from the Moroccan people.

The rising levels of violence in Morocco and the popularity of the sultan led to a situation where the French had to negotiate for the country’s independence. The following year, Morocco gained its independence, with Sultan Mohammed becoming its leader. The holiday is now celebrated by all Moroccans to commemorate their struggle for independence.

Observing the Anniversary of the Revolution of the King and the People

This holiday is observed with religious services, festivals, and parades. It is a day off for the general population and a day when many businesses and non-essential government offices are closed.

Where is it celebrated?
Morocco (National holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
August 20 Tuesday
Next year (2025)
August 20 Wednesday
Last year (2023)
August 20 Sunday