Singaporeans remember every first Friday of October as Children’s Day. School-going children will typically have a celebration in the school the day before, get gifts from adults and, the best part, a school holiday to go along.
But did you know that every country has its own unique celebration at different times of the year? Back in 1954, the United Nations General assembly recommended a day to celebrate children around the world.
It adopted 20th November as “International Children’s Day” but allowed each country to select a date to call their own. And so they did! In this article, let us explore the unique ways countries celebrate their children.
Image Source: MAphotoSG
Wan Dek, Thailand’s Children’s Day, is celebrated on the second Saturday of January. In Thailand, children are considered the most valuable resource in the country and this day is meant to make them aware of their importance in the development of their country. Every year, the Prime Minister will come up with a theme and slogan for Wan Dek, with this year’s motto being: “Good children are diligent and crave for learning, for a bright future.”
On this day, Thai children usually go out for a day of fun. Their bus fares are waived, and they are provided with free entry to entertainment parks, zoos, government offices such as the Government House, as well as to the Army, Navy and Air Force bases. Children are also granted permission by the Royal Thai Air Force to explore their aircraft.
Image Source: Savvy Tokyo
Kodomo no hi, Japanese Children’s Day, is celebrated on the 5th day of May every year. On that day, colourful carp flags (representing determination and vigour) are flown in the air, and Samurai Warrior figurines (symbolising strength and bravery) are displayed at home.
Children will enjoy Kasiwa-mochi (sticky rice cakes in oak leaves) and participate in events specially catered for them across the country. The most notable event is the "Kids' Olympics" held at the National Kasumigaoka Stadium in Tokyo.
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Dia del Niño is celebrated on 30th April annually. On this day, Mexican children dress up in colourful costumes for school, and classes in school are replaced by parties filled with food and games organised by teachers.
Out of school, shopping centres, amusement parks, water parks and museums will also have special offers for the little ones. Many will also organise special events just for Children’s Day.
In a show of solidarity, many local civil associations will also collect toy donations, which are distributed to orphans and children in need on this special day.
Turkey 😎 🐉
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National Sovereignty and Children’s Day is celebrated on 23rd April each year. On the week of Children’s Day, ceremonies with singing and dance performances are held in sports fields across the country, with the celebrations culminating with a large performance in the national soccer stadium in Istanbul. Children also receive gifts from their parents on this day.
And in uniquely Turkish fashion, children will take over the government for the day. They take the seats of the parliament and hold a special session to discuss children’s issues. A “President” will even be “elected” to address the nation on television!
Image Source: Metta School
Compared to many countries around the world, Children’s Day in Singapore seems to be a relatively simple event. A celebration in school usually including performances by teachers, children receiving little gifts from teachers, followed by a long weekend for children to rest, has become rather ubiquitous.
What else can we do, some may ask? This Children’s Day, we have partnered with a few social service agencies to crowdfund for school bags and other necessities. In the face of the uncertainty amidst the current pandemic, a simple gift can let a kid bask in the joy of receiving something useful and meaningful.