Commemoration Of Atatürk, Youth And Sports Day

Observed annually, the Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day is a public holiday in Turkey that is celebrated on May 19th and commemorates Mustafa Kemal’s landing at the city of Samsun on May 19, 1919.

This day is widely regarded as the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence, and it is a day on which Turkish athletes celebrate that fact by carrying the Turkish flag from a Black Sea port to Turkey’s capital. It is also a day that is celebrated by people watching sporting events at local stadiums or by watching other athletic events such as marathons.

The History of the Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day

On May 19, 1919, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk arrived in the Black Sea port of Samsun. Once he arrived, he began a popular uprising against the decision of WWI allies to divide up the territories of the defeated Ottoman Empire. This is seen by many as the starting date of the Turkish War of Independence.

In 1936, when Atatürk realized that many people did not remember the date or time that he landed in Samsun, he decided to create a festival that would celebrate the event. This festival began the following year. In 1938, a law was passed that made May 19th the official public holiday known as the Festival of Youth & Sports. It has been celebrated as a holiday ever since.

Observing the Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day

On this day, a variety of events can be enjoyed all across Turkey. Many of these are athletic events such as half-marathons or sports competitions, but those are not the only events that can be enjoyed.

Young people also recite poems and sing the national anthem, there are parades and cultural events, and people enjoy folk dances and plays. Because it is a public holiday, schools and government buildings are closed for the day, as are many businesses and banks.

Where is it celebrated?
Turkey (National holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
May 19 Sunday
Next year (2025)
May 19 Monday
Last year (2023)
May 19 Friday