In Kyrgyzstan, as in Russia and most other former Soviet Republics, 23 February is a national public holiday. Only, in Kyrgyzstan, the name of the holiday is “Homeland Defender’s Day” rather than the usual term “Defender of the Fatherland Day”.
|2021||23 Feb||Tue||Homeland Defender's Day|
|2022||23 Feb||Wed||Homeland Defender's Day|
|2023||23 Feb||Thu||Homeland Defender's Day|
|2024||23 Feb||Fri||Homeland Defender's Day|
This holiday is a bit of relic of Kyrgyzstan’s past connections with Russia. It was first celebrated in the USSR in 1919 to commemorate the first big draft of soldiers in to the Red Army, during the Russian Civil War. Later, the date in Russia was moved a bit and the holiday’s meaning was expanded to include the founding of the Red Army. At first, it was called “Red Army Day”.
In the capital city of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek, there will be a big military parade on Homeland Defender’s Day. Interestingly, 29 May is a separate holiday celebrating the Armed Forces of Kyrgyzstan, and Homeland Defender’s Day was only introduced as a public holiday in 2003. So, it’s not the only day to do with defending the homeland and has controversial roots, but nonetheless, the parade occurs every year and people continue to attend and celebrate.