Fight For Freedom And Democracy Day

Observed annually on November 17th in Slovakia, Freedom and Democracy Day is a public holiday that commemorates two separate events. The holiday honors the 1939 uprising against the Nazi occupation of the country and the 1989 demonstrations that eventually led to the end of communist rule in the country.

This holiday is also celebrated in the Czech Republic due to their shared history, but in that country, the title of the holiday is Day of Freedom and Democracy and International Student Day. Regardless of what this holiday is called, it is a day that honors individual freedom and embraces national pride.

The History of Freedom and Democracy Day in Slovakia

Before the early 1990s, Slovakia and the Czech Republic were both part of Czechoslovakia, which is why this holiday is shared by both countries today. During WWII, Czechoslovakia endured the brutal occupation of their country by the Nazis and communist rule following the end of the war.

During both the Nazi and communist occupations of Czechoslovakia, students protested, which is why International Student Day is included in the name of the holiday celebrated in the Czech Republic. In 1939, Nazis stormed the University of Prague to break up student demonstrations.

During that event, nine student leaders were executed, and over 1,200 students were sent to concentration camps. In 1989, during the 50th anniversary of the student revolt, authorities tried to suppress the march. This led to a series of protests across Czechoslovakia, known as the Velvet Revolution, which marked the beginning of the end of the communist regime.

Observing Freedom and Democracy Day in Slovakia

This holiday is mainly observed through solemn ceremonies and public rituals that commemorate the date and remember the students who lost their freedom and sometimes their lives. It is also celebrated with street festivals. Politicians give speeches about the importance of the day, and TV programming usually features special shows commemorating the day as well.

Where is it celebrated?
Slovakia (National holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
November 17 Sunday
Next year (2025)
November 17 Monday
Last year (2023)
November 17 Friday