Celebrating National Sovereignty & Children's Day

April 23 of every year is celebrated as National Sovereignty (Ulusal Egemenlik) and Children's Day (Çocuk Bayramı) in Turkey.  It is an official non-working holiday nationwide where all government offices or entities, state and private schools, as well as most businesses are usually closed on this day.  Official ceremonies are usually held by the local government entities to commemorate the creation of Turkish Parliament (Grand National Assembly) which took place on the 23rd of April in 1920.  The major celebration on this day takes place at the Ataturk Mausoleum in the capital city of Ankara where a ceremony is held and wreaths are being laid at the monument of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of Turkish Republic.
Moreover, there are various children's activities and festivities that also take place in most towns and cities all throughout the country in observance of Children's Day.  The biggest one among all these is the Uluslararası 23 Nisan Çocuk Bayramı or the International April 23 Children's Festival organized by the state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT).  The beautiful city of Izmir is this year's host city welcoming over 700 children (between ages 8-14) from 46 participating countries.  Children from all over the world gather in Turkey to participate in the said festival which usually starts with a Grand Parade during the opening day. Guests wear their national outfits and perform their traditional music as they dance on the main street of the host city.  In the following days, the children attended the 23 April TRT Children and Media Congress which aims to carry the children's media to perfection by its mission of supporting the content production development and providing a global vision for the local and international market.

The main event of the week-long festival is the gala of TRT's April 23 Children's Festival wherein the children from participating countries are given the chance to present their traditional dances and wear their national costumes as they perform a 3-minute show that's broadcasted live on TV.

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