Freedom Day in Ethiopia

Freedom Day is a holiday observed annually on May 5th. Also known as Patriot’s Victory Day, this holiday commemorates the end of the Italian occupation of Ethiopia on May 5, 1941. Because of the sacrifices made by many Ethiopian patriots, Ethiopia has become a symbol of independence for other African countries.

Their heroes fought against colonialism and oppression, and it is the heroes who are celebrated on this annual holiday. This is a holiday observed with a parade in Addis Ababa and wreaths being laid at the city’s monuments. It is also a day off for the general population, allowing people to spend it any way they see fit.

The History Of Freedom Day In Ethiopia

During the 19th century, Ethiopia entered into an agreement with Italy to receive support from the country in exchange for ceding land to what is now modern-day Eritrea. They did this to combat colonialism by European powers, but that plan failed as Italy then sought to expand their territorial claims.

This would lead to the First Italo-Ethiopian War in 1895. On March 1, 1896, Italy’s colonial forces were defeated at the Battle of Adwa. This bitter defeat would be remembered when Mussolini took control of Italy and declared revenge.

In October of 1935, Mussolini invaded and defeated Ethiopia during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. Italy would hold control of Ethiopia until World War II. During the war, the Ethiopian Resistance, with the support of the British government, was able to restore sovereignty.

Italian control of the country officially ended on May 5, 1941, when Emperor Haile Selassie entered Addis Ababa. Although the Italians would continue a guerrilla warfare campaign until 1943, their efforts proved unsuccessful. In 1947, Italy would eventually recognize the independence of Ethiopia.

Observing Freedom Day In Ethiopia

All over Ethiopia, people celebrate the Arbegnoch—or patriots—who helped to liberate the country from Italian control. People also visit the war memorial in Addis Ababa and attend brass bands and other parades.

Where is it celebrated?
Ethiopia (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
May 5 Sunday
Next year (2025)
May 5 Monday
Last year (2023)
May 5 Friday