The 19th of May every year marks Youth and Sports Day Turkey or Gençlik ve Spor Bayramı which was started by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
The 19th of May also marks the day in 1919 when the Turkish War of Independence started and the day that Mustafa Kemal Atatürk landed at the Black Sea Port of Samsun, he then began his leadership and fight for independence of Turkey and later becoming Turkey’s first independent President.
After the death of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk it was decided that the day would also be the day to Commemorate Atatürk. Changing the day to Commemorating Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day (Atatürk’ü Anma, Gençlik ve Spor Bayramı).
One of the main traditions of this day is young Turkish athletes run with the Turkish flag from the Black Sea Port at Samsun where Atatürk began the War of Independence and over 10 days the flag is carried across the country to Turkey’s Capital Ankara finishing with the flag being handed to Turkey’s current President who accepts the flag during a ceremony on the 19th of May.
A Minutes silence is also observed in memory of Atatürk and wreaths and flowers are laid at monuments of Atatürk throughout country including at the Anitkabir the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
Various sports events take place during the day which are watched by many at the local stadiums and there are also many parades and ceremonies throughout the day.
For those who are living in Turkey this is also a national holiday which means banks and official offices will be closed on the 19th of May.
It’s a great day for families and children and you can get involved by going along to your local stadium and enjoying the day’s activities.
© 2011 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.