Syria Martyrs’ Day: May 6, 2010 – Martyrs’ Day is a public holiday in Syria.
Syria shares the celebration of Martyr’s Day with Lebanon on the 6th of May every year. The holiday commemorates the death of both Syria and Lebanon’s nationalists during the occupation by the Ottoman Empire. The nationalists were executed on May 6, 1916 in Marjeh Square (Damascus, Syria) and Burj Square (Beirut, Lebanon) respectively by the Ottoman Young Turk Ahmed Djemal or more commonly known as Jamal Pasha.
History of Syria Martyrs’ Day Syria has been under the control of the Ottoman Empire since the latter part of the 15th century until the downfall of the latter on May 1916.
The march towards Syrian independence was long and bloody. The earlier part of the 20th century saw the birth of Syrian intellectuals who heavily campaigned for the independence of Syria from the Ottoman rule. The clandestine conferences and meetings they had with other intellectuals in Paris, France were made known to the Turks. As a result, Sultan Abdul Hamid ordered the arrest of these Arab leaders and forced to renounce their nationalist ideals and plans towards a democratic and independent Syria. However, the nationalists bravely stood by their resolve and bravely faced their destiny so that in May 6, 1916, all of them were executed by hanging in Damascus and Beirut.
The nationalists executed were Shukri al-Assali, Omar al-Jazairi, Rushdi al-Shamaa, Abdelhamid al-Zahrawi, Shafiq al-Muayyad, and. Abdel Wahab al-Englizi. Their martyrdom has created strong international ties between the Syria and Lebanon since then. Syria Martyrs’ Day: Traditions, Customs and Activities Leaders of Syria and Lebanon celebrate this day by visiting the war memorial in Damascus, Syria, particularly the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier a memorial tomb dedicated to the Syrian soldiers who perished in the war against the Ottoman Empire. Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was built in 1994 shape like a dome with an arch right above it.
The monument is famous for the five large paintings displayed along the hall which depicts the five heroic battles fought in the history of Arab nations namely: Battle of Yarmouk, Battle of Sultan Yacoub, Battle of Mount Hermon, Battle of Maysaloun, and the Battle of Hattin.
The government of Syria may hold a luncheon or banquet for the children or relatives of the martyrs as a way of paying respects to the bravery of martyrs. Public speeches coming from local government officials delivered in behalf of the president are held every year in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Damascus.