Children's day

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Children's Day in the Russian city of Severodvinsk , June 1, 2010
Children's Day in Ecuador
GDR postage stamp for Children's Day 1964 with a picture of Meister Nadelöhr , design: Werner Klemke

The Children's Day , also Universal Children , International Children's Day , or International Children's Day , is a committed in more than 145 countries of the world day to the special needs of children and especially to the children's rights to draw attention. The way it is organized ranges from a day of remembrance or a day of honor for children to a quasi- holiday with celebrations and gifts to political actions and demonstrations in the tradition of a day of struggle . The aim of the day is topics such as child protection , child policy and above all to raise public awareness of children's rights.

There is no internationally standardized date. In more than 40 states, as in China , partly in the United States , in many Central and Eastern European countries and successor states of the Soviet Union is on June 1 of the International Children's Day celebrated. In other countries the dates are different. In Germany and Austria on September 20 of the Universal Children aligned, but also on June 1 as the International Children's Day celebrated.

The United Nations celebrates World Children's Day on November 20 as International Children's Rights Day , the anniversary on which the UN General Assembly passed the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child; Many states have also joined this date.


The first ideas go back to the beginning of the 20th century and are closely related to the development of children's rights . In 1902 the Swedish educational reformist Ellen Key published her book Century of the Child , with which she brought the protection, needs and rights of children into the focus of an increasingly enlightened public.

“It was not a state from Western Europe, but Turkey that was the first country to introduce a children's day in 1920”, at the same time as the state was founded. Turkey has been celebrating Child's Day ( Ulusal Egemenlik ve Çocuk Bayramı ) on April 23 since 1921 .

The English elementary school teacher Eglantyne Jebb founded the British committee “ Save the Children ”, shaken up by the massive misery of refugee children, especially in Eastern Europe after the First World War . Convinced of the need to stand up for the interests of the child, she drafted a five-point program that she sent to the League of Nations in Geneva in 1923 . This charter - known as the Geneva Declaration - was adopted by the General Assembly of the League of Nations on September 24, 1924. Even if this declaration was primarily about the protection and well-being of children, Article 5 contained an important element of the socialist International Children's Day: “The child should be brought up with the idea of ​​using his best energies in the service of himself To provide fellow human beings. ”In the course of this and other developments, some states introduced a corresponding day. In Germany, the labor movement in particular promoted a children's day. When the 2nd International Workers' Olympiad took place in Vienna in 1931 , the celebrations began on July 19 with a “Children's Festival” and an International Children's Day was proclaimed. Because of the political situation, this day of action was viewed as socialist propaganda.

With the founding of the UN on June 26, 1945 and the subsequent dissolution of the League of Nations in 1946, the Geneva Declaration was not adopted and thus lost its international legal basis.

International Children's Day, June 1st

The establishment of an international, annual Children's Day was proposed in December 1948 in a resolution of the 2nd World Congress of the International Democratic Women's Federation (IDFF), which was held in Budapest . At the IDFF Council meeting in Moscow in November 1949, June 1st was set as Children's Day. The World Federation of Democratic Youth , which is also oriented towards socialism , joined this idea in January 1950. The first international day of the child was celebrated on June 1st in the same year and was established at the same time or shortly after in many socialist countries.

The reasons for choosing June 1st are no longer clear. Possibly it goes back to two events. On the one hand, the conferences of 1924 began as early as June and a corresponding date was referred to. On the other hand, there is a theory that this goes back to a Chinese consul in San Francisco who organized a festival for orphans in the American west coast city on the occasion of the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival in early June. Initially and in the official writings of the socialist countries, Children's Day was - analogous to International Women's Day - a "day of struggle for the happy and peaceful future of all children" worldwide.

World Children's Day

The birth of the UN World Children's Day is September 21, 1954. On this day, the 9th General Assembly of the UN recommended that  its member states establish a world-wide Children's Day. So should

  • the commitment to children's rights is promoted as well
  • friendship among children and young people.
  • In addition, governments should make a public commitment once a year to support the work of the United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF .

The international community commissioned UNICEF to organize this worldwide day. In doing so, the United Nations took up both the proposal made by the American organization International Union for Child Welfare , which had pleaded for a worldwide Children's Day as early as 1952, and also took into account the fact that the socialist states had had an International Children's Day since 1950 (June 1) began to establish. The choice of a suitable date was left up to each UN member, as well as the focus and the manner.

On November 29, 1959, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted the “Declaration of the Rights of the Child” - 35 years after the Geneva Declaration - but it is still not binding under international law. 1979 was declared the International Year of the Child by the UN . In the course of this, on the initiative of Poland, a commission was set up to draw up a children's rights convention. Another ten years later, in 1989, the “Convention on the Rights of the Child” was passed by the UN General Assembly, making it binding under international law. The date, November 20th, has since been celebrated by the UN as International Children's Rights Day.

Children's day in Germany

International Children's Day in the GDR, June 1st

Following the Soviet model, the GDR introduced Children's Day in the first year of its existence. On the occasion of the first day of children in 1950, for example, a children's railway was opened in Dresden . From then on, June 1st was, as in the whole socialist camp , one of the most prominent annual events in the lives of many children. there were also no regular classes. Children's parties were held in schools and kindergartens. There were children's and pioneer parties , events with congratulations and small gifts from parents, teachers and educators . In schools and children's facilities, the day was designed with parades, games and festive programs, with political children's songs such as Little White Dove of Peace , Always Live the Sun or The Sun Shines Above All, also recalling the character of the festival for peace and international understanding.

The children themselves were celebrated as the bearers of the future society. At the same time, however, the celebrations were also focused on the socialist system with its actual and supposed achievements over the capitalist countries. Accordingly, especially child poverty, a more backward family law and illiteracy in the western and third world were castigated. Problems of their own were completely ignored or only addressed when they could be successfully addressed, such as the precarious nutritional situation of many children in the early 1950s.

World Children's Day in the Federal Republic of Germany, September 20

With the adoption of the resolution of 1954, the Federal Republic of Germany chose September 20th as World Children's Day. Apart from a few actions and celebrations, this day was hardly noticed by the population. This was shown, for example, in the fact that Children's Day is not to be found as a keyword in any major West German encyclopaedic work; in stark contrast to June 1 in comparable GDR writings and also in contrast to International Women's Day . There are several reasons for this. The focus was primarily on inward-looking family policy issues, grievances in youth welfare and demands for a society that is more child-friendly, e.g. B. in urban planning. On the other hand, there were sociopolitical reservations that should not be underestimated. The implementation of some children's rights was in contrast to the German family law of the time . Germany therefore signed the 1989 Child Rights Convention with reservations ( Federal Law Gazette II p. 990 ) and only withdrew it in 2010 ( Federal Law Gazette 2011 II p. 600 ). Noteworthy, regular actions with children's parties and political demands were z. B. carried out by the German section of UNICEF and the German Child Protection Association .

It was not until the German Children's Fund (DKHW) celebrated World Children's Day with a children's festival in Bonn in 1989, when the Children's Rights Convention was signed, that the importance of this date increased again. From then on there were annual press releases from the federal government and ministries.

In Thuringia , September 20th is a public holiday as World Children's Day.

Development in reunified Germany

Children's parties are celebrated on Children's Day in almost every major German city, often jointly organized by independent youth welfare organizations, child protection organizations and municipalities. The largest festival with over 100,000 visitors takes place in the capital Berlin on Potsdamer Platz around September 20th. As the federal central festival for World Children's Day, an important politician takes over the patronage every year; In the years 2011 to 2013 it was the respective Federal President, since 2014 it has been the Minister for Family Affairs. Children's day is also advertised by the toy industry.

In terms of date, the republic was still clearly divided into two parts until 2018: In the old federal states, World Children's Day was celebrated on September 20, in the new federal states traditionally June 1 was celebrated as International Children's Day . For the first 15 years after the fall of the Wall , June 1st was politically ignored by the federal government and in the old federal states and officially only World Children's Day on September 20th was celebrated. Gradually, the other date with its tradition was also accepted, and this day was also celebrated consciously. In Berlin, the largest children's day festival takes place around June 1st on Alexanderplatz . The event on June 1st in the FEZ is also supported by the two main sponsors of the World Children's Day Festival Unicef ​​and the German Children's Fund.

In an appeal for World Children's Day 2017, the German Cancer Aid Foundation called on the health politicians of the Federal Government and the political parties to promote the health of children and adolescents all year round by providing information about proper nutrition and the importance of physical activity. In the current funding year, the aid organization itself focused on research into Ewing's sarcoma in the fight against cancer in children and adolescents . Krebshilfe provided 671,000 euros in donations for research into the origins and development of new treatment methods for this “aggressive bone tumor” at the Pathological Institute at the University of Munich's Clinic . On February 28, 2019, the Thuringian state parliament decided with the votes of the red-red-green majority that from now on, World Children's Day on September 20 is a public holiday in Thuringia .


In Austria Children's Day (usually called World Children's Day to avoid confusion with Innocent Children's Day ) has been celebrated on September 20th since 1953 (back in October).

According to UNICEF , World Children's Day is “an occasion for information, discussions and thoughts about the situation of all children in the world”. According to surveys, the aim here is not only to commemorate children in bad situations, but also to honor and celebrate children.

Since 2013, as in Germany, it has been celebrated on June 1st as “International Children's Day”. Many toy shops have been inviting children and their parents to activities on this day (since 2013). In some schools and similar institutions, however, as in Germany, parties and parades are held.


In Switzerland, “International Children's Day” is celebrated on June 1st.

Children's day worldwide


In Albania , Children's Day is celebrated on June 1st.


In Argentina, the second Sunday in August is Children's Day.


Bolivian Children's Day ( Dia del niño ) is celebrated on April 12th.


In Brazil, Children's Day is celebrated on October 12th together with the day of the apparition of Mary, Nossa Senhora da Imaculada Conceição Aparecida in Aparecida .


In Bulgaria, Den na deteto ( Ден на детето - Child's Day) is celebrated on June 1st.


In the People's Republic of China , Children's Day (儿童节, ér tóng jié ) is celebrated on June 1st.


In Chile, Children's Day is celebrated on the 1st Sunday in August.


In Finland , Children's Day is celebrated on November 20th.


In India , Jawaharlal Nehru's birthday is celebrated on November 14th as Children's Day .


In Japan , Children's Day or the Boys' Festival (こ ど も の 日 Kodomo no hi ) is celebrated on May 5th. Originally the day was called Tango no sekku (端午 の 節 句) and was a festival for boys only. In 1948 the meaning changed to a day when happiness and health are wished for all children.


In Canada June 1st is Children's Day.


In Kosovo , Children's Day is celebrated on June 1st.


In Cuba , Children's Day ( Día del Niño ) has been celebrated on the third Sunday in July since 1974 .


In Mexico , the Día del Niño is celebrated on April 30th.


In Paraguay, August 16 has been Children's Day since 1948. This date was chosen in memory of the Battle of Campo Grande , also called Acosta Ñu , on August 16, 1869, in which thousands of children were used as soldiers and killed.


In Poland, Dzień Dziecka is celebrated on June 1st.


Romania celebrates Ziua Copilului on June 1st. This day is a non-working public holiday.


In Russia, the "International Child Protection Day " ( Международный день защиты детей ) is celebrated on June 1st .

Slovakia and the Czech Republic

In Slovakia and the Czech Republic , Children's Day is celebrated on June 1st.

South Korea

South Korean Children's Day ( 어린이 날 ; Eorininal ), celebrated since May 1, 1923, was introduced as an official holiday in 1975. It is on May 5th and families usually visit child-friendly amusement facilities such as zoos and theme parks on this day .


In Spain, Children's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. It's called Día del Niño .


In Taiwan , Children's Day is celebrated on April 4th as a public holiday. If Qingming Festival falls on April 4th, Children's Day is celebrated on April 3rd. If April 4th falls on a Thursday, it will be celebrated the following day.


In Thailand the second Saturday in January is Children's Day.


In Turkey , April 23rd was introduced as a holiday called " Child's Day " in 1920 . On that day, the Grand National Assembly in Ankara met for the first time. The next day Mustafa Kemal , who was given the surname Ataturk (father of the Turks) in 1934, became its chairman. Mustafa Kemal dedicated April 23rd to children under the motto “Today's children are tomorrow's adults”.


In Tunisia , January 11th is Children's Day.


Children's day is the last Sunday in May.

United States

June 1st

See also

Web links

Commons : Children's Day  - collection of images
Wiktionary: Kindertag  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. a b World Children's Day ( memento from May 29, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) on
  2. a b c International Children's Day . In: .
  3. a b International Children's Day - June 1st . 1st June 2013.
  4. Geneva Declaration 1924 - Humanium • We realize children's rights .
  5. ^ Friedemann Seitz: Die Kinderfreunde / Die Falken - District Pfalz 1923-1948 - Founding, advancement, prohibition and reconstruction of a social democratic organization . In the series of publications of the Archives of the Workers' Youth Movement , Volume 20. tredition, Hamburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-86850-864-2 , p. 113 f.
  6. United Nations World Children's Day (UN) - derTagdes . In: .
  7. International Children's Day - RoPolKa . In: .
  8. a b c d e History of World Children's Day. ( Memento from April 19, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) German Children's Fund,
  9. international childrens day . Altius Directory
  10. Universal Lexicon . VEB Bibliografisches Institut, Leipzig 1988, ISBN 3-323-00199-0 .
  11. Status of treaties - ratification status from the CRC. Published by: UN Treaty collection , accessed on March 19, 2019 (English).
  12. ^ History - Dresdner Parkeisenbahn eV . In: .
  13. ^ ND archive: Neues Deutschland from June 1st, 1955 . In: .
  14. Example of World Children's Day celebrations before 1989, history of the local association of the Kinderschutzbund Neuwied
  15. Thuringian Celebration and Remembrance Day Act, Section 2: Statutory holidays in the version of March 27, 2019 on the website of the Thuringian state government, accessed on September 19, 2021.
  16. Federal President Joachim Gauck patron of the federal central World Children's Day Festival in Berlin . In: .
  17. World Children's Day at Potsdamer Platz . In: . 18th September 2017.
  18. Contribution to the advertising campaign for Children's Day 2014 on the website of the German Association of the Toy Industry , accessed on September 11, 2020
  19. International Children's Day . Hamburger Abendblatt.
  20. ^ Berlin House of Representatives - welcome by the President of the Berlin House of Representatives, Walter Momper, on the occasion of the opening of the exhibition "Children Have Rights" in the House of Representatives . In: .
  21. Children's festival for International Children's Day in the FEZ.
  22. World Children's Day 2017: Commitment to children with cancer . October 25, 2017.
  24. All children and young people must have equal and fair opportunities on OTS from September 20, 2019, accessed on July 13, 2020
  26. Toy shops all over Austria invite you . ( Memento from September 15, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Austrian Chamber of Commerce
  28. Día de los niños. Excerpt from a speech by Fidel Castro on July 6, 1974.
  29. Día del Niño: de la tragedia de Acosta Ñu alfestjo . In: Diario ABC Color .