Struggle For Freedom And Democracy Day

Observed on November 17th in the Czech Republic, the Day of Freedom and Democracy is a holiday that commemorates two of the most significant events in history. The first event was the violent breakup of student demonstrations during the Nazi occupation of 1939.

The second was the breakup of student demonstrations in 1989. The latter event was known as the Velvet Revolution and marked the beginning of the end of communism in Czechoslovakia.

The History of the Day of Freedom and Democracy

To understand this holiday, we must first acquaint ourselves with the two events it commemorates. The first was the German occupation of Czechoslovakia from 1938 through 1945. The Nazis annexed the Sudetenland in 1938 and then initiated a full-scale invasion of the Bohemian Lands in March of 1939.

In 1939, students led nationwide protests against the occupation in the country, acts that were brutally suppressed by the Nazis when they stormed the University of Prague. During this action, nine student leaders were executed, and 1,200 students were sent to concentration camps.

In 1989, on the 50th anniversary of the student demonstrations against the Nazis, there was a memorial march. The authorities in power attempted to suppress this march, but it only led to a series of widespread protests across various cities in Czechoslovakia.

The protest featured a series of strikes that began with the students and were later joined by citizens of the country. This movement became known as the Velvet Revolution.

Observing the Day of Freedom and Democracy

All across the Czech Republic, wreaths are laid on memorials, and people wear the national colors of red, blue, and white to honor their country. There is also a candlelight memorial on National Avenue in the capital city of Prague. People spread the word about this holiday using the hashtags #VelvetRevolution or #FreedomAndDemocracy on their social media accounts.

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