Eritrean Martyrs' Day

Eritrean Martyrs' Day

June 20
Following its defeat of Ethiopian government forces in 1991 to establish national independence, Eritrea instituted an official holiday to pay tribute to those who died for the country's liberation. The struggle, which lasted from 1961 to 1991, claimed the lives of an estimated 65,000 freedom fighters and tens of thousands of civilians.
Many Eritreans observe Martyrs' Day by filing into mass mourning processions that conclude at the "Martyrs' Graveyards" located throughout the country. On the eve of Martyrs' Day in 1997, the government expanded the national tribute by opening the National Martyrs' Park, situated in a forest and wildlife preserve outside the capital city, Asmara. Individuals arrive to pay their respects to the dead by finding names engraved on the National Martyrs' Monument and walking through museums that depict the 30-year struggle for independence.
CONTACTS:
Eritrean Embassy
1708 New Hampshire Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20009
202-319-1991; fax: 202-319-1304
www.embassyeritrea.org
Ethiopian Tourism Commission
P.O. Box 2183
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
www.tourismethiopia.org (click on "Cultural Attractions")
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