Genocide Remembrance Day in Armenia
Genocide Remembrance Day, also known as Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, is a national holiday in Armenia commemorating the victims of the Armenian Genocide. The genocide was perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire during World War I, resulting in the deaths of approximately 1.5 million Armenians. In the Armenian language, the day is called Մեծ Եղեռնի զոհերի հիշատակի օր (Mets Yegherrni zohreri hishataki or).
Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day is observed annually on April 24th. This date marks the beginning of the genocide when, in 1915, the Ottoman government arrested and executed several hundred Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. The systematic extermination that followed lasted until 1923.
Armenia officially started commemorating Genocide Remembrance Day on April 24, 1965, marking the 50th anniversary of the genocide. This was a significant milestone as it was the first time that public commemoration took place in Soviet Armenia. Demonstrations held that year demanded recognition of the genocide, as well as the return of Armenian lands that had been annexed by Turkey. Since then, the day has been marked annually with various events and activities, both in Armenia and among Armenian diaspora communities worldwide.
In 1997, the Armenian government officially declared April 24th as a public holiday, and in 2015, the centennial of the genocide was marked with numerous events and activities worldwide, bringing increased international attention to the issue.
National customs for Genocide Remembrance Day in Armenia
On Genocide Remembrance Day, the people of Armenia come together to honor the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide. The day is marked with various events, including speeches, lectures, film screenings, and exhibitions that focus on the history and the consequences of the genocide.
The main event takes place at the Tsitsernakaberd Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. Thousands of people, including high-ranking officials, foreign diplomats, and ordinary citizens, visit the memorial to lay flowers at the eternal flame and pay their respects to the victims. A moment of silence is observed nationwide, and the day is often marked by solemn music and performances that reflect the tragedy and its impact on Armenian culture and identity.
Local customs for Genocide Remembrance Day in Armenia
In addition to the national customs, local communities in Armenia may also organize their own events and activities to commemorate Genocide Remembrance Day. These may include gatherings at local Armenian churches, commemorative concerts, or educational programs for students.
Armenian diaspora communities around the world also observe Genocide Remembrance Day, often organizing events and demonstrations to raise awareness about the genocide and to advocate for its international recognition. These events may include gatherings at Armenian churches, marches, or visits to local genocide monuments and memorials.
Genocide Remembrance Day is an important day for the people of Armenia and the Armenian diaspora, as it serves as a reminder of the immense tragedy that befell their ancestors during the Armenian Genocide. Through various customs, events, and activities, the day provides an opportunity for Armenians to honor the memory of the victims, educate others about the atrocities committed, and seek justice and recognition for the Armenian Genocide on an international level.