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Why does only Thuringia get a public holiday on World Children’s Day, September 20?

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Thuringia has eleven public holidays, one of which is on World Children’s Day, September 20th. On this day, employees in no other German federal state have time off.

Those who live in Thuringia have had one more day off since 2019: According to a decision by the red-red-green government, World Children’s Day on September 20 is now a public holiday in this state every year.

With World Children’s Day, Thuringia has eleven public holidays

With this, children should be honored as the future of society – parents should take more time for their offspring. With the public holiday, the state would like to draw attention to the needs of children and families. With this day, “the respect for children as independent personalities with their own needs and rights is brought into the focus of social and public attention”, according to a resolution of the Thuringian state parliament.

World Children’s Day was launched on September 21, 1954 at the 9th General Assembly of the United Nations. Among other things , it is intended to draw attention to the rights of children, to focus on their individual needs and to promote friendships among children and young people. It is celebrated on different days in the UN member states, in Germany on September 20th. This day is also used to make demands for children to politicians.

The decision that September 20 would be the new public holiday was preceded by months of controversial debate. Above all, the economy was against another public holiday and saw it as a location disadvantage.

World Children's Day

World Children’s Day falls on these days of the week

Previously there were ten public holidays in Thuringia , with World Children’s Day there are now eleven. This day has not yet been a public holiday in any other federal state. The situation is similar with International Women’s Day in Berlin: In January 2019, the capital became the first federal state to declare International Women’s Day on March 8 a public holiday. Berlin now has ten instead of nine public holidays.

World Children’s Day falls on these days of the week in this year and in the coming years:
September 20, 2021: Monday
September 20, 2022: Tuesday
September 20, 2023: Wednesday
September 20, 2024: Friday

World Children's Day

Why are there two children’s days in Germany?

Incidentally, there is Children’s Day twice in Germany. In addition to September 20th, which is a public holiday in Thuringia, June 1st is also Children’s Day. That has to do with the history of Germany: In the GDR and in other socialist countries there was always International Children’s Day on June 1st. Some federal states took over this after reunification. In some regions of Germany, Children’s Day is celebrated in June, in others in September – or twice a year.

  • World Children’s Day: September 20th
  • International Children’s Day: June 1st

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1. World Children’s Day on September 20th

The idea of ​​a worldwide children’s day has been around for a very long time. Politicians from all countries wanted to raise awareness of children’s rights. Because these were not taken for granted over 60 years ago. At the 9th General Assembly of the United Nations on September 21, 1954, UNICEF was commissioned by the United Nations to set up a worldwide Children’s Day. Every state should celebrate its own World Children’s Day. 

UNICEF recommended September 20th as “World Children’s Day”, which was adopted by the former FRG. For a long time, this day was hardly noticed until the German Children’s Fund organized large celebrations. The date turned out to be a good occasion to make demands on the politicians for the children.  

2. International Children’s Day on June 1st

In the former GDR and other socialist countries, June 1st was introduced as International Children’s Day. This has been celebrated since 1950. The day was always a big event for all children in the GDR: There were events with congratulations and gifts from parents. Programs and celebrations were held in many schools and daycare centers. 

Since the German reunification in 1990 there have been two children’s day celebrations. June 1st continues to be celebrated, especially in the eastern German states. In some areas there is even a party in June and September – what luck for the children!

When is World Children’s Day 2021?

The date for World Children’s Day in Germany is September 20th. It’s a Monday in 2021. By the way, there is also an International Children’s Day on June 1st.

World Children's Day

Where is World Children’s Day a public holiday in Germany?

World Children’s Day is a public holiday in Thuringia. The public holiday law applicable there was changed accordingly in 2019 by the Thuringian state parliament with the votes of the Left, SPD and Greens. Thanks to World Children’s Day, the number of work and school-free holidays in Thuringia increases to eleven.

While in Thuringia people are free and the shops are closed, World Children’s Day is not a public holiday in any of the other federal states.

Children’s Day meaning: Why is there a World Children’s Day?

World Children’s Day on September 20th is a reminder that many children cannot simply be children. So it’s about working for the rights of children and promoting friendship among children and young people. At the same time, the governments should publicly undertake to support the work of the children’s aid organization UNICEF.

The idea met with broad approval in many countries: World Children’s Day is celebrated in more than 145 countries – even if it is usually not a public holiday. 


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