Today is March 17, the birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. This day is also celebrated as ‘National Children’s Day’. Like every year, various programs are being organized across the country regarding children, with different initiatives taken by the government and non-governmental organizations.
Alongside the general holiday, Bangladesh Television, radio and various private television channels are broadcasting special programs on this occasion. Special newspapers and articles are being published in the media. Drawing competitions are being organized in various educational institutions. In addition, special prayer meetings are being held in various mosques, Milad and Doa Mahfil and other religious places such as temples, churches and pagodas.
Children’s Day is celebrated at different times in different countries around the world. The first country to observe Children’s Day was Turkey. The inhabitants of Turkey celebrated Children’s Day for the first time on April 23, 1920. ‘World Children’s Day’ is celebrated on November 20 worldwide and ‘International Children’s Day’ is observed on June 1.
Internationally, the first Monday of October is celebrated as World Children’s Day and Child Rights Week. According to the United Nations proclamation, November 20 is celebrated as World Children’s Day. In addition, International Girls’ Day is observed on October 11 around the world.
There are several more days like this for children. Outside of Bangladesh, many countries observe a National Children’s Day in honor of their children. For example, the United States observes Children’s Day on the second Sunday of June, while Pakistan celebrates it on July 1st and China celebrates it on April 4th. In Britain, Children’s Day is celebrated on August 30th, in Japan on May 5th, and in West Germany on September 20th.
However, the purpose of Children’s Day is the same in all countries, to raise awareness about the rights and future of their children. In India, National Children’s Day is observed on November 14th, which was declared as such in 1967 to coincide with the birthday of the country’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who was known as a beloved uncle to children.
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Although International or World Children’s Day is observed in Bangladesh, there was no National Children’s Day. After the Awami League came to power in 1996, the government declared the birth anniversary of the father of the nation, Bangabandhu, on March 17 as National Children’s Day as a part of the ‘Kha’ category of national holidays. The Ministry of Cabinet announced it at that time. The day has been observed since 1997. In later years, this day was also declared as a public holiday.
In 2001, after losing national power in the election, the immediate past BNP government canceled the celebration of Children’s Day and government holidays. As a result, the day was not observed from 2002 to 2008. During this time, the BNP government began celebrating the birthday of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman as Teacher’s Day on January 19. After the Awami League was elected to the ninth national parliament, the day has been celebrated every year at the national level through large-scale events.
In Bangladesh, “National Children’s Day” is celebrated every year on March 17. The first National Children’s Day was celebrated in Bangladesh in 1996. Today’s children are the capable citizens of tomorrow. Bangabandhu had immense affection for children. He loved to spend time with children on his birthday. On that day, children used to form groups to wish him well. Considering these universal values, the decision was made to celebrate National Children’s Day on his birthday.