Armed Forces Day: October 6
Armed Forces Day is a public holiday in Egypt.
Egypt celebrates Armed Forces Day on October 6 to commemorate the Egyptian Army’s successful crossing of the Suez Canal which led to the capture of the Bar Lev Line during the 1973 October War.
History of Armed Forces Day in Egypt
Shortly after midday on Saturday, October 6, 1973, the October War began when Egypt and Syria launched a combined surprise military assault on Israel. They timed the attack on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. During Yom Kippur, most Israelis were in synagogues praying and fasting. Due to the surprise attack, Egypt successfully crossed the Suez Canal on October 7 and Syrian forces advanced on the Golan Heights. However, after suffering heavy losses, Israeli forces succeeded in turning the tide of battle in the North by October 10. During the next three days, Israeli forces advanced into Syrian territory well beyond the 1967 ceasefire lines.
On October 14, Israeli forces succeeded in crossing the Canal and surrounded the Egyptian Third Army. Despite a cease-fire agreement on 22 October, fighting continued which almost brought the USSR and the US to confrontation. On October 26, all parties involved in the war accepted a US-Soviet backed Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire.
Peace talks between Egypt and Israel continued for two months. US Secretary of State Kissinger actively participated in the said talks, which concentrated mainly on an Israeli withdrawal to post-Six Day War lines. Israel later agreed to pull back some 20 km from the Canal. On January 18, 1974, a Disengagement Agreement was signed between Israel and Egypt.
Egypt’s Armed Forces Day Traditions, Customs and Activities
Armed Forces Day celebrations typically include parades and other activities, as well as songs, and fireworks displays. In 1981, President Sādāt was assassinated during an Armed Forces Day parade in Cairo.
The Egyptian Navy in October 2008 launched the largest exercise in its history to commemorate the Egyptian Armed Forces Day.