Each April 23, Turkey celebrates Çocuk Bayrami, or Children’s Day. Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk declared the holiday in 1920, as Turkey was becoming an independent nation after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, to illustrate that children were the future of the new nation.
Children all over Turkey dress up in special outfits or the national costume for Çocuk Bayrami. Boys who dress in the national costume typically wear baggy silk pants, a colorful vest, a white shirt and a sequined hat, called a tepelik. Girls wear a long colorful gown called a kaftan and an ornate veil. Many children perform in plays or musicals. The centerpiece of Çocuk Bayrami takes place in Turkey’s capital, Ankara, where children from all over the world sing and dance in a spectacular pageant.