National Heroes Day in East Timor

National Heroes Day is a holiday observed on the 7th of December each year in East Timor. It honors the first President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Nicolau Lobato, on the anniversary of his death in 1978.

He was born in Soibada, Portuguese Timor, in 1946 and became the first Prime Minister of East Timor on November 28, 1975, when East Timor declared its independence from Portugal. However, his tenure would only last nine days, ending on December 7th when he was killed leading the armed resistance against the Indonesian military during their invasion.

Some Interesting Facts About East Timor

We wanted to present everyone reading about National Heroes Day with some interesting facts about East Timor, so we’ve assembled the facts below for everyone’s enjoyment.

  • In 2017, the population of East Timor was approximately 1.2 million people.
  • East Timor is approximately 5,400 square miles in size.
  • Dili is the largest city and the capital of East Timor.
  • The two official languages of East Timor are Portuguese and Tetum.
  • East Timor has over 439 miles of coastline.
  • The national dish of East Timor is Pepes Ikan, which is fish steamed in chili sauce wrapped in a banana leaf.

Observing National Heroes Day

This holiday is observed by laying wreaths on the tombs of national heroes and by people attending special church services. People also spend time with their friends and family on this patriotic day. Since it’s a public holiday, government buildings, offices, and businesses are closed on this day. It’s also a general day off for a large segment of the population of East Timor.

Where is it celebrated?
East Timor (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
December 7 Saturday
Next year (2025)
December 7 Sunday
Last year (2023)
December 7 Thursday