Republic Day: May 28
Republic Day is a public holiday in Azerbaijan.
On May 28, 1918, Azerbaijan declared independence from the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, thus forming the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. Azerbaijan became the first democratic parliamentary republic in the Muslim world. This holiday was not celebrated during Soviet times, and it became a public holiday after the collapse of the USSR.
History of Republic Day in Azerbaijan
In 1917, the Russian Caucasus Front collapsed because of the Russian Revolution that deposed Czar Nicholas II of Russia, the last Czar of Russia. The Provisional Government took power, and on March 9, the Special Transcaucasian Committee was formed to govern over the areas occupied on the Caucasian front, Azerbaijan included. The short-lived administration included representatives from Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia.
Azerbaijan wanted independence from Russia, and all over the country local Muslim National Councils were formed. On March 27, delegates from these councils met and elected a central committee. These representatives would become the founding members of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.
After the October Bolshevik Revolution, the Soviets created the Transcaucasian Commissariat as the first government of the independent Transcaucasia to strengthen the Georgian-Armenian-Tartar union. On February 24, 1918, the Transcaucasian Commissariat proclaimed Transcaucasia as the independent Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic. This only exposed the fragile union in the region leading to conflicts. On May 26, 1918, after the fall of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, its bodies were dissolved and the Azerbaijani part of it was renamed the Azerbaijani National Council. On May 28, they proclaimed the foundation of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic. The first Azerbaijani Republic lasted for only 23 months before being taken again by the Soviet Union. It declared its independence again in 1991 after the collapse of the USSR.
Azerbaijan’s Republic Day Traditions, Customs and Activities
On this day in Azerbaijan, people decorate the cities with the national flag, hoping that it will always wave freely in a free and democratic Azerbaijan. The colorful flag is blue for Turkic, red for modernism and progressiveness, and green for Islam. On the streets Azeris enjoy the day as they remember the past and look forward to building Azerbaijan from generations that lived all their lives under the Communist Soviet Union, adapting to a democratic capitalist republic where they can enjoy their own choices in life. In the capital city of Baku, all the official celebrations of Republic Day are held, as the president and government officials raise the national flag at the Presidential Palace of the Republic of Azerbaijan in front of a Guard of Honor.