23rd April Children’s Festival is a children’s festival that Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, bestowed to Turkish children and that has been celebrated among countries since 1979. The first celebration of it was held on April 23rd, 1920, when the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) was founded. It is organized so as to improve the feelings of fraternity, love and friendship among children and also to contribute to a world, where they will live in peace.
Children aged between 8-14 participate in the international festival. The program covers the period between approximately April 16th and April 26th. Each country group is made up of an about 20 children and 6 leaders. Guests arrive in the cities where the organization will be held by April 15th. For each group TRT assigns a guide. Guides enable the coordination between the group leaders. Each group, through primary education schools, is housed by a host family with their peer Turkish friends in a warm and affectionate environment in the city where the festival is held. In this way, the children of the world recount the positive traits of Turkish people to their own families and friends when they return to their countries. This certainly makes Turkish people happy. The festival begins with a festival parade every year. In the procession children, in their national outfits, play their traditional music and dance on the largest street of the city. Later, guest countries perform outdoor shows in big parks, and unit with Turkish people. The festival week goes ahead with children’s visit to the mausoleum of Atatürk, the great leader who awarded this festival to children, in Ankara, the capital city of Turkey. After this visit, children are accepted by the President of the Republic of Turkey, the President of Turkish National Grand Assembly, and the General Director of TRT.