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Defender's Day

Defender’s Day 2019 and 2020

In the central Asian nation of Kazakhstan, every 7 May is Defender of the Fatherland Day, also called simply “Defender’s Day” for short.

20197 MayTueDefender's Day
20207 MayThuDefender's Day

The tradition of having a “defender’s” day goes back to Soviet times when 23 February was “Soviet Army and Navy Day”. Some other former Soviet republics kept that date but renamed it Fatherland Day.

Kazakhstan not only got a new name but dated the holiday 7 May based on when their first president gave a decree to establish the national Armed Forces in 1992. For this reason, the day is sometimes called “Armed Forces Day” as well.

The same president who gave the decree to establish Kazakhstan’s Armed Forces in 1992, Nursultan Nazarbayev, also was still in office in 2012 to give the decree establishing 7 May as an official public holiday commemorating that event.

There are many festive events all over the country on Defender’s Day in Kazakhstan, but the central events are the numerous military parades, which can be very elaborate. And the president will give out numerous awards and medals to Armed Forces members.