Children’s Day is a day recognised to celebrate children. The day is celebrated on various dates in different countries.
Children’s Day in Donetsk, Ukraine, 2011 : Children’s Day began on the second Sunday of June in 1857 by Reverend Dr. Charles Leonard, pastor of the Universalist Church of the Redeemer in Chelsea, Massachusetts: Leonard held a special service dedicated to, and for the children. Leonard named the day Rose Day, though it was later named Flower Sunday, and then Children’s Day.
Children’s Day was first officially declared a national holiday by the Republic of Turkey in 1929 with the set date of 23 April. Children’s Day has been celebrated nationally since 1923 with the government and the newspapers of the time declaring it a day for the children. However, it was decided that an official declaration was needed to clarify and justify this celebration and the official declaration was made nationally in 1931 by the founder and the President of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
The International Day for Protection of Children is observed in many countries as Children’s Day on 1 June since 1950. It was established by the Women’s International Democratic Federation on its congress in Moscow (4 November 1949). Major global variants include a Universal Children’s Holiday on 20 November, by United Nations recommendation.
Even though Children’s Day is celebrated globally by most of the countries in the world (almost 50 countries) on 1 June, Universal Children’s Day takes place annually on 20 November. First proclaimed by the United Kingdom 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.
That is observed to promote the objectives outlined in the Charter and for the welfare of children. On 20 November 1959 the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. The United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child on 20 November 1989 and can be found on the Council of Europe website.
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 skill set acquired in these schools. Finally, implementing policies regarding education to promote peace, respect and environmental concern. Universal Children’s Day is not just a day to celebrate children for who they are, but to bring awareness to children around the globe that have experienced 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 may 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 on the UNICEF website.
Canada co-chaired the World Summit for children in 1990 and in 2002 the United Nations reaffirmed the commitment to complete the agenda of the 1990 World Summit. This added to the UN Secretary-General’s report We the Children: End-of Decade review of the follow-up to the World Summit for Children.
The United Nations children’s agency released a study referencing the population increase of children will make up 90 per cent of the next billion people.
In India, Children’s Day is celebrated on 14 November, on the birthday of the first Prime Minister of independent India, who was fondly called Chacha Nehru (Uncle Nehru) or Chachaji (Uncle), and who emphasized the importance of giving love and affection to children, to give him tribute. After the death of Jawaharlal Nehru in 27 May 1964, it was unanimously decided to celebrate his birthday as Bal Diwas or Children’s Day in India.
On this day, many schools organize fun activities for students such as games, competitions, museum or zoo visits etc. Additionally, government and non-government organizations, NGOs, private bodies and others (like housing societies) conduct a variety of competitions as well as events for children to let them know about their rights and make them happy and cheerful. TV channels also air interesting programs for children on 14 November. Parents take part in this event very enthusiastically to make their children happy – they distribute sweets and/or greeting cards to their kids, go on picnics, and in general enjoy the day with their children.