Martyrs’ Day is a public holiday in South Sudan that’s observed on the 30th of July annually. It’s observed on the day on which the founding father of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), Dr. John Garang died in 2005. This is a holiday that not only recognizes his service to the country but is a holiday that celebrates all of those who resisted oppression, domination, and exploitation.
A martyr is someone who shows an amazing amount of courage in the face of oppression or persecution, and this day is designed to keep these people in the minds of the citizens of South Sudan.
The History Of Martyrs’ Day In South Sudan
John Garang de Mabior led the Sudan People’s Liberation Army during the Second Sudanese Civil War and is not only a revolutionary leader but also a politician. He served as Sudan’s first Vice President for approximately 3-weeks before he died in a helicopter crash on the 30th of July in 2005. Although it has never been proven that he died as the result of foul play, this day is still celebrated as Martyrs’ Day in South Sudan. This holiday has been observed ever since.
Observing Martyrs’ Day In South Sudan
This is a public holiday in South Sudan, and that’s why it’s not only a day off for the general population, but is also a day on which non-essential government offices, businesses, and schools are closed in the country. This holiday is observed with military parades, street festivals, dancing, and music.
There are concerts held all across the country and there are also flag-raising ceremonies as well. It’s also a day when people get together with their friends and family members to celebrate. These people often enjoy some South Sudanese dishes such as Kisra (sorghum pancakes), a fried pastry known as Mandazi, or a fish stew known as Kajaik.