Children’s Day: Facts, Significance & More

by Priya Bharti
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November 14 is observed as Children’s Day in India as the day marks the birth anniversary of independent India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Also known as Chacha Nehru among children, he advocated for children to have fulfilled education. Children’s Day is celebrated to enhance awareness about the rights, education and development of children in the country.

The origin of Children’s Day dates back to June 1857. It was the second Sunday of the month when Reverend Dr. Charles Leonard, pastor of the Universalist Church of the Redeemer in Chelsea, Massachusetts 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 named Children’s Day.

Children’s Day was first officially declared a national holiday by the Republic of Turkey in 1920 with the set date of 23 April. Children’s Day has been celebrated nationally since 1920 with the government and the newspapers declaring it a day for children. However, it was decided that an official confirmation was needed to clarify and justify this celebration and the official declaration was made nationally in 1929 by the founder and the President of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

International Children’s Day was first proclaimed in Geneva during the World Conference on Child Welfare in 1925. On 4 November 1949, June 1 was established as the International Day for Protection of Children by the Women’s International Democratic Federation in Moscow. Since 1950, June 1 is celebrated as Children’s Day in many Communist and posted Communist countries.

On 14 December 1954, a joint resolution by India and Uruguay was passed in the UN General Assembly to encourage all countries to institute a Universal Children’s Day, firstly to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children and secondly to initiate action to promote the ideals of the UN Charter and the welfare of the world’s children.

On 20 November 1959, The United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. World Children’s Day is celebrated on 20 November to commemorate the Declaration of the Rights of the Child by the UN General Assembly on 20 November 1959.

Following the demise of Nehru, the Indian lawmakers decided to observe the day on his birth anniversary to give the departed leader a befitting tribute as he was popular with the children. A resolution was passed in the parliament to this effect. November 14 was officially declared Children’s Day in India in 1957. The Government of India’s Department of Posts and Telegraphs issued first-day covers and three commemorative stamps on the occasion of Bal Din (“Children’s Day”).

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