Universal Children's Day takes place annually on November 20. First proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954, it was established to encourage all countries to institute a day, firstly to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children and secondly to initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world's children.
In 2000, the Millennium Development Goals outlined by world leaders in order to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015. Albeit this applies to all people, the main objective is with regard to children. UNICEF is dedicated to meeting the six of eight goals that apply to the needs of children so that they are all entitled to basic rights written in the 1989 international human rights treaty. UNICEF delivers vaccines, works with policymakers for good health care and education and works exclusively to help children and protect their rights.
In September 2012, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations led the initiative for the education of children. He firstly wants every child to be able to attend school, a goal by 2015. Secondly, to improve the skillset acquired in these schools. Thirdly, implementing policies regarding education to promote peace, respect and environmental concern.
Universal Children's Day is not simply a day to celebrate children for who they are, but to bring awareness to children around the globe that have succumbed to violence in forms of abuse, exploitation and discrimination. Children are used as labourers in some countries, immersed in armed conflict, living on the streets, suffering by differences be it religion, minority issues, or disabilities. Children feeling the effects of war can be displaced because of the armed conflict and/or suffer physical and psychological trauma. The following violations are described in the term "children and armed conflict": recruitment and child soldiers, killing/maiming of children, abduction of children, attacks on schools/hospitals and not allowing humanitarian access to children. Currently there are about 153 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 who are forced into child labour. The International Labour Organization in 1999 adopted the Prohibition and Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour including slavery, child prostitution and child pornography.
A summary of the rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child can be found here.
Children's Week is an annual event celebrated in Australia during the fourth week in October, from the Saturday before Universal Children's Day to the following Sunday. Until 1977 Child Care Week was held in various Australian states and territories focusing on children in care or those in institutions. It was held at different times. In 1985 it was decided to coordinate a national week to include all children.
In Brazil, Children's Day (In Portuguese: Dia das Crianças) is celebrated on October 12, coinciding with Our Lady of Aparecida's day, the country's Patron Saint, which is holiday. In Brazil Children's day is celebrated by kids receiving presents from their parents.
In Bulgaria, children's day is celebrated on June 1. Traditionally kids receive very special attention from their family, including Birthday-like presents. In the past all drivers were expected to drive with their lights on all day long to demonstrate extra vigilance over children's safety. Now it is compulsory to drive with the lights on every day of the year.
National Child Day has been proclaimed across Canada since 1993 to commemorate the United Nations' adoption of two documents centered on children's rights: the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1959, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1989. The "Child Day Act" outlines human rights to which children, under the age of 18, are entitled by law. This Act promotes awareness and teaches children that they have rights, like adults do, under the law. The date of celebration is November 20.
In Chile, Children's Day is officially recognized, and assigned to the first Wednesday of October. However, it is observed on the second Sunday of August. It retains none of the international flavor as a day to recognize the needs of or rights of children, but is observed merely as a commercial holiday dedicated to buying toys for children.
In the People's Republic of China, Children's Day is celebrated on June 1 and is formally known as "the June 1 International Children's Day" (Chinese: 六一国际儿童节; pinyin: Liù Yī Guójì Értóng Jié). When the People's Republic of China was first established in 1949, the State Council (Cabinet) designated a half-day holiday for all primary schools on June 1. This was later made into a full day's break in 1956 with The Announcement by the State Council to make June 1 Children's Day a One-Day Holiday. Schools usually hold activities such as children's performances, camping trips, or free movies on Children's Day or the day before to allow students to have fun. Children of civil servants might also receive small gifts from the government until they are fourteen, and Civil servants who have children sometimes have a half-day holiday on June 1 to spend more time with their children. Entrance and set out ceremonies of the Young Pioneers of China are usually held on June 1 as well. Entrance of children under 14 into the Forbidden City is free on June 1, while each accompanying adult gets 50% off, i.e. CNY30.
Burning of "trash and filth" literature by students and "Young Pioneers" at the 18th Elementary school in Berlin-Pankow (Buchholz), East Berlin, on the evening of International Children's Day, June 1, 1955
In Germany, during the Cold War, Children's Day (Kindertag) was handled quite differently in West Germany and East Germany. While East Germany (GDR) celebrated International Children's Day (Internationaler Kindertag) on June 1,West Germany (FRG) celebrated Universal Children's Day (Weltkindertag) on September 20.
The customs of Children's Day were also significantly different in West and East Germany. In East Germany, the holiday was introduced in 1950, and was from then held on a yearly basis for the children. On this day of the year, children would typically be congratulated and would receive presents from their parents and did special activities in school, such as field trips and the like.
After the reunification of East and West Germany occurred in 1990, Universal Children's Day has become official for whole Germany. This, however, was not accepted by large parts of the East German population. Most parents still celebrate Children's Day on the former date of June 1, and public events pertaining to Children's Day take place on September 20 (Weltkindertag).
In Indonesia, Children's Day is celebrated on July 23. but in Batam, specifically SEKOLAH MONDIAL celebrates WCD on the 23–24 October. A lot of programmes are held such as : Field Demo Dance, Band Performances, Games, Booths and a lot more. Everything is performed by the students of Mondial from Kindergarten to High School Level .
Nehru distributes sweets among children at Nongpoh, Meghalaya
In India, Children's Day is celebrated on 14 November, the birthday of the country's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Jawaharlal Nehru, who was fondly called Chacha Nehru (Uncle Nehru) or Chaffinch (Uncle) by the kids, emphasized the importance of giving love and affection to children, whom he saw as the bright future of India. He wanted to enhance the progress of Indian youth for which he established education institutes like AIIMS, Indian Institute of Technology. It is well known that Jawaharlal Nehru admired 2 things one of which is roseand the other were children. To give him tribute, India celebrates this festival 14 November, the day of his birthday.
Many functions are organized in schools, offices and other organizations. Most schools hold cultural performances on this day, run by the children themselves. Teachers also get involved, and may perform songs and dances for their students. On this day, the State and the Central Government also make it a point to showcase children's films as part of Film festivals organized in many parts of the country. All over the country, various cultural and social institutions conduct competitions for children. Children's Day is seen as a day for the kids to engage in fun. Children take part in many sports organized for them.
Japan's Children's Day (子供の日kodomo no hi?) is celebrated on May 5, a National Holiday since 1948, to celebrate the happiness of all children and to express gratitude toward mothers. There is a long tradition, from the 8th century, to celebrate children's day twice a year; March 3 for girls and on May 5 for boys. On March 3, also known as the Doll Festival, Japanese people decorate their households with traditional Heian Period doll sets and plum blossom, and drink Amazake. On May 5, also known as 端午の節句 (tango-no sekku), they fly carp streamers outside, display Samurai dolls, and eat chimaki.
There were some who argued in 1948 that March 3 should also be a National Holiday.
The International Children's Day is celebrated annually on June 1 and is established as a national holiday for children. Over 3 million children across Kazakhstan celebrate the holiday with special children events, including charity events for raising awareness of global problems such as child abuse and child labour abuse.
North Korean Children's Day is celebrated on June 2 as the International Children's Day (국제 아동절). Before 1945, it was celebrated on May 1. There is also a day called 조선소년단창립절(Festival for establishment of Young Pioneer Corps) on June 6.
In South Korea, May 5 is officially recognized as Children's Day (어린이날). Parents often give presents to their children, as well as spend time with them. The children are taken on excursions to zoos, museums, and various venues of children-oriented entertainment.
Children's Day was first conceived by innovative Korean students and social leaders on the basis of the March 1st Movement to achieve Korean independence from Japanese colonialism. From Jinju, many people gathered to promote and improve the social status of children and encourage adults to teach awareness of their deprived sovereignty. In 1923, several groups of students studying in Tokyo agreed to designate May 1 as Children's Day. A predominant intellectual figure, Bang jeong hwan (방정환,方定煥), greatly contributed to the popularization of the holiday. Because it overlapped with Laborer's Day, Children's Day was moved to May 5. Bang Jeon Hwan first coined the modern Korean word for children, eorini (어린이), replacing the previous words aenom (애놈) and aesaekki (애새끼). Until 1939, Japanese authorities based in Seoul oppressed the movement to stop Korean social activists congregating for the festival. After independence in 1945, the movement to respect children was revived. The children's welfare law written in the constitution officially designated May 5 as Children's Day in 1961. And by 'the law of holiday of government office', Children's day became a holiday in Korea in 1970.
In Malaysia, Children's Day is celebrated on the first Saturday of November annually. Primary school pupils normally go to school on the Friday before the event to celebrate Children's Day. The schools that are involved would also organize numerous activities for their pupils.
In Maldives, Children's Day is celebrated on May 10. It is a public holiday and primary schoolchildren go to school to the event to celebrate Children's Day. The schools that are involved would also organize numerous activities for their pupils.
In Mexico, Children's Day is celebrated on April 30. It is also known as "El Día Del Niño". On this day teachers in schools organize the day for their children. In some schools, lessons are suspended for the day. They organize games, music, and the children bring in their favorite foods to share with others. Some families also have a day out with their children. There are special activities for the children in parks and sports centers. Sometimes, also, the children will be given presents by their families. This is the day when children are honored in Mexico. Children's Day in Mexico started in 1925.
In Nepal, Children's Day (बाल दिवस) is celebrated on Bhadra 29 according to the Nepali Calendar(Sept 14 or September 15(Leap Year)). Earlier during the Shah Rule, Nepal used to observe Children's day on Bhadra 4 on the birthday of H.M. Queen Mother Ratna Rajya Laxmi Devi Shah.
In New Zealand, Children's Day is typically celebrated on the first Sunday in March. It honours children as a taonga (Maori for treasure) and is a day families can relax and share in activities that honour this. This year, 2012, the focus is on peace and aroha (Maori for love). New Zealand has high rates of child abuse and family violence. The Government has recognised this as one of the most important issues for New Zealanders, with an event such as Children's Day helping to focus on the practice of sharing, loving and caring as well as honouring "tamariki" (Maori for children).
Children's Day is celebrated on May 27 in Nigeria. It is a public holiday for Primary and Secondary school children. Due to the large size of the country, only few group of children (schools or any other organization) are selected to march past parade. The children are usually given treats such as an outing or doing jobs that adults would normally do. In some situations, primary and secondary school children compete in military parades format for a prize which will be given at the end of the competition. Religious groups in Nigeria also celebrate children's day in grand style. Many private and public organizations usually put together children's party for privileged and less privileged children in a bid to give them a sense of belonging. It is also a day media organizations analyze the plight of children in the society and efforts government and non government agencies make to better the lot of children.
Children's Day in Norway is held on May 17, the same day as Norwegian Constitution Day, with many children's parades simultaneously celebrating both events and thereby emphasizing the importance of children in Norwegian society.
In Islamic Republic of Pakistan,Children's Day is celebrated on the 1st of July.In Punjab the Child Rights Cell of Department of Social Welfare Punjab collaborates with UNICEF to celebrate this day. Whereas, The NGO, Voice of Children Islamabad, also celebrates Children'a day and arranges activities for children and parents on that day. The EPO and SFB also celebrate Children's day and arrange fun and interactive sessions for children and parents.
For Children's Day, there are many festivals and events organised by schools and organisations, that focus on having fun and lively activities that kids and their families can enjoy. Most charitable organisations also partake in the festivities, by holding functions or partnering with bigger organisations. Thus, everyone joins in to make this day a memorable event each year in Pakistan.
In Panama, Children's Day or Kid's Day was formerly held on November 1, but was changed by Vivian Fernandez de Torrijos, the wife of President Martin Torrijos (2004–2009), to the third Sunday of July.
In Paraguay, Children's Day is celebrated on August 16, day of the Battle of Acosta Ñu, where it is said that 20,000 men from the Triple Alliance were awaited by a Paraguayan force made up of 3,500 children ages six to fifteen, ordered to hold the Alliance forces while the president Solano Lopez could escape. Even though Paraguay had been already completely defeated, it is said that Lopez forced them to stay and face the enemy, others sources claim that the children volunteered to fight against the Allied forces after their families had been killed by the advancing allied forces (see more in Paraguayan War). Children's Day is a national holiday, used to remember the event, which happened during the five-year war.
According to Peruvian law in Peru, Children's Day (Día del Niño Peruano (Ley Nº 27666) , literally Peruvian Children's Day (Law Nº 27666)) is celebrated every third Sunday of August. On this day of the year, Peruvian children would typically be congratulated and would receive presents from their parents. Since it is celebrated on Sunday, all special activities in school, such as field trips and the like are done the previous Friday. All major stores offer special discounts on toys, appliances, electronics, clothes, etc.
The Senate of the Philippines approved on third and final reading a bill declaring every December 25 as National Children's Day to promote consciousness over the protection of the rights of Filipino children.
In Poland, Children's Day (Dzień Dziecka) is celebrated on June 1. The International Children's Day was introduced in Poland in 1952. It coincides with the beginning of summer and it is usually treated as a holiday, as it takes place near the end of the school year. Schools usually organize special activities for the day of the celebration, and the first week of June is a time of festivities organized in parks and entertainment centers for children. Parents buy small gifts for their children.
In Romania, Children's Day (Romanian: “Ziua Copilului”) is celebrated on June 1. Various events are also organized.
On June 1, 2012, International Children's Day was celebrated by the Romanian Government at the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Protection. Almost 100 children in attendance received a Minister of Children diploma celebrating with parents and grandparents.
Traditionally, October 1 is the day which Singapore officially celebrates Children's Day, a similar event celebrated every year is Youth Daywhich is celebrated on the first Sunday of July every year. Kindergarten and primary school children in Singapore do not have to attend school on this day. From 2011, Children's Day was celebrated on the first Friday of October.
The Republic of China designated April 4 as Children's Day (Chinese: 兒童節; pinyin: Értóng Jié), pursuant to Article 5 of the Order to Implement Commemoration Days and Holidays. The holiday dates back to 1931 and since then schools often hold special activities in order to celebrate the occasion. Because of pressure from parents demanding to accompany their children in the celebration, Taiwan celebrated Women's Day together with Children's Day on April 4, 1991. Since then, April 4 has been known as "The Combined Holidays of Women's Day and Children's Day" (Chinese: 婦女節、兒童節合併假期). It has been a public holiday of Taiwan since 2011.
Thailand National Children's Day (Thai: วันเด็กแห่งชาติ) is celebrated on the second Saturday in January. Known as “Wan Dek” in Thailand, Children’s Day is celebrated to give children the opportunity to have fun and to create awareness about their significant role towards the development of the country.
Usually, His Majesty the King gives advice addressing the children while the Supreme Monarch Patriarch of Thailand gives a moral teaching. The Prime Minister also usually gives each Children's Day a theme and a slogan.
Many Government offices are open to children and their family; this includes the Government House, the Parliament House Complex and various Military installations. These events may include a guided tour and an exhibition. A notable example is the guided tour at the Government House, where children have an opportunity to view the Prime Minister's office and sit at the bureau. The Royal Thai Air Force usually invites children to go and explore the aircraft and the Bangkok Bank distributes stationery, such as pens, pencils and books to every child that enters the bank as a community service. Many organizations from both government and commercial sectors have celebration activities for children. Children can enter zoos or ride buses for free.
There is a Thai saying that states, "Children are the future of the nation, if the children are intelligent, the country will be prosperous."
Children's Day in Tunisia is celebrated on January 11 every year. It is a day in which Tunisians observe the rights of children and remind themselves that children are the future builders and developers of the country and the world.
"The Holiday of National Sovereignty and Children", celebrated in Germany, in 2011
The Grand National Assembly of Turkey was established on 1920, April 23, and to commemorate the event, April 23 was proclaimed a national holiday in 1921. Since 1927 it has also become Children's Day (Turkish: Ulusal Egemenlik ve Çocuk Bayramı, literally "The Holiday of National Sovereignty and Children"), an official holiday dedicated to the children of Turkey and (from 1979 on) the world. Turkish; April 23 Children's Festival
In addition to holding many domestic celebratory events such as stadium performances, Turkey also houses TRT International April 23 Children's Festival, where groups of children from other countries are invited to participate in the festivities while staying at Turkish families' homes.
Children's Day observations in the United States predate both Mother's and Father's Day, though a permanent annual single Children's Day observation is not made at the national level.
In 1856, Rev. Charles H. Leonard, D.D., then pastor of the First Universalist Church of Chelsea, Mass., set apart a Sunday for the dedication of children to the Christian life, and for the re-dedication of parents and guardians to bringing-up their children in Christian nurture. This service was first observed the second Sunday in June.
The Universalist Convention at Baltimore in September 1867, passed a resolution commending churches to set apart one Sunday in each year as Children's Day.
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in 1883 designated "the second Sabbath in June as Children's Day."
Also in 1883, the National Council of Congregational Churches and nearly all the state bodies of that denomination in the United States passed resolutions commending the observance of the day. About this time many other denominations adopted similar recommendations.
Chase's Calendar of Events cites Children's Sunday and notes that The Commonwealth of Massachusetts issues an annual proclamation for the second Sunday in June.
Children & Youth Day in Hawaii started in 1994 when the Hawaii Legislature became the first to pass a law to recognize the first Sunday in October as "Children's Day". In 1997, the Legislature passed another landmark law designating the entire month of October as "Children and Youth Month".
In 1996, author Pat Mora, after learning about the annual Mexican tradition of celebrating April 30 as El día del niño, the Day of the Child, proposed an annual celebration in the U.S. of El día de los niños, El día de los libros/Children's Day, Book Day, thus honoring children and connecting them to literacy, essential in a democracy. Assistance starting this community-based, family literacy initiative was provided by REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking. Often known as Día, because it is both a daily commitment and an annual April celebration, Children's Day, Book Day, has grown to link all children to books, languages and cultures. A major partner is the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). Every year, across the country, hundreds of libraries, schools, and community organizations, etc. hold culminating April Children's Day, Book Day celebrations that unite communities, creating an annual tradition much like Mother's Day and Father's Day.
Children's Day was proclaimed by President Bill Clinton to be held on October 11, 1998, in response to a letter written by a six year old boy inquiring if he would make a Children's Day for him. "National Child's Day" was proclaimed by President George W. Bush as June 3, 2001 and in subsequent years on the first Sunday in June.
Since 2009, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has issued proclamations proclaiming the second Sunday in June as Children's Day as had the previous governor in 2007 and 2008. The mayors of Aurora and Batavia, Illinois, also have issued proclamations.
In Vanuatu, Children's Day is celebrated on the July 24. "Stop violence against children", and "Give a child the chance to express their opinion today". After the march there are speeches and activities organized by schools, including a dance. Then, after midday, children return home to spend time with their parents for the rest of the day. Children's Day is a public holiday, set up following a recommendation of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. A group of people in the United Nations monitor and protect children's rights. A committee, with both adult and child members, organizes activities. In the past, a committee of adults has chosen the theme – but in the future children may help choose it.
Children's Day originally took place only in the capital of Vanuatu, but it has now been extended to all 6 provinces. Schools, churches, local governments of the provinces and other local organizations all organize activities. Save the Children supports one Children's Day activity in each province, selecting it from the many requests they receive for support. In 2008, one of the activities supported by Save the Children was a sports day between many different schools.
Parents and caretakers have been supportive of Children's Day activities. Many parents come to activities with children. For example, in one province, children and parents from 5 different schools came together for a shared lunch. Some parents give their children presents for Children's Day – however, Save the Children try to spread the message that it doesn't matter if a parent can't afford to buy their child a present, as the real aim of Children's Day is for parents and children to spend the day together, and work together to reconcile their problems.