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Universal Children's Day

The United Nations' (UN) Universal Children's Day, which was established in 1954, is celebrated on November 20 each year to promote international togetherness and awareness among children worldwide. UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, promotes and coordinates this special day, which also works towards improving children's welfare.

Universal Children's Day promotes the welfare of and understanding between children.

©iStockphoto.com/shironosov

What Do People Do?

Many schools and other educational institutions make a special effort to inform children of their rights according to the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Teachers stimulate their pupils to think about the differences between themselves and others and explain the idea of “rights”. In countries where the rights of children are generally well-respected, teachers may draw attention to situations in countries where this is not the case.

In some areas UNICEF holds events to draw particular attention to children's rights. These may be to stimulate interest in the media around the world or to start nationwide campaigns, for instance on the importance of immunizations or breastfeeding.

Many countries, including Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, hold Universal Children's Day events on November 20 to mark the anniversaries of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, other countries hold events on different dates, such as the fourth Wednesday in October (Australia) and November 14 (India). Universal Children's Day is not observed in the United States, although a similar observance, National Child's Day, is held on the first Sunday in June.

Public Life

Universal Children's Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.

Background

On December 14, 1954, the UN General Assembly recommended that all countries should introduce an annual event from 1956 known as Universal Children's Day to encourage fraternity and understanding between children all over the world and promoting the welfare of children. It was recommended that individual countries should choose an appropriate date for this occasion.

At the time, the UN General Assembly recommended that all countries should establish a Children's Day on an “appropriate” date. Many of the countries respected this recommendation and the Universal Children's Day has since been annually observed on November 20. There are however, some countries, such as Australia and India, which still chose various different dates during the year to celebrate this day.

On November 20, 1959, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and on November 20, 1989, it adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Since 1990, Universal Children's Day also marks the anniversary of the date that the UN General Assembly adopted both the declaration and the convention on children's rights.

Symbols

Universal Children's Day is part of the work carried out by UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund. UNICEF's logo consists of an image of a mother and child, a globe, olive branches and the word “UNICEF”. All parts of the logo are in UN's blue color, although it may be presented in white on a blue background.

Universal Children's Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015FriNov 20Universal Children's DayUnited Nations observance
2016SunNov 20Universal Children's DayUnited Nations observance
2017MonNov 20Universal Children's DayUnited Nations observance
2018TueNov 20Universal Children's DayUnited Nations observance
2019WedNov 20Universal Children's DayUnited Nations observance
2020FriNov 20Universal Children's DayUnited Nations observance
2021SatNov 20Universal Children's DayUnited Nations observance
2022SunNov 20Universal Children's DayUnited Nations observance
2023MonNov 20Universal Children's DayUnited Nations observance
2024WedNov 20Universal Children's DayUnited Nations observance
2025ThuNov 20Universal Children's DayUnited Nations observance

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