Within a year’s time, 150 countries worldwide celebrate Children’s Day on 51 different calendar days.
Having grown up in the states, I do not recall as a child celebrating, or even knowing about, Children’s Day; so I was surprised to learn that it originated in Chelsea, Massachusetts. In 1857 Reverend Dr. Charles Leonard declared the second Sunday in June as “Rose Day,” and held a special service dedicated to children. The day was later named “Flower Day,” and then changed to “Children’s Day,” and is still observed in the U.S. the second Sunday in June.
The first country to nationally adopt the day was Turkey in 1920, making it official in 1929 by declaring it a national holiday and setting the date for April 23. The 1925 World Conference on Child Welfare proclaimed International Children’s Day on April 12. In 1950, Moscow established June 1st as Children’s Day for many then-communist countries. The UK began honoring the day in 1954, celebrating in mid-May and encouraging all other countries to set a day. Then in 1959 the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, and set November 20 as World Children’s Day.
Though November 20 was suggested, Mexico celebrates Dia de los Ninos each year on April 30, since the November date is already the Mexican holiday of Revolution Day. On this day children are showered with attention, given sweet treats and gifts, and made to feel special. Unfortunately inhibited by the pandemic, under normal circumstances schools and other public venues would organize activities, games, food, and events encouraging family togetherness and fun. It is a day of family fiestas, happy children, sugary sweets, and broken piñatas.