Why are these people dancing?
They are performing a flash mob, in which “a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform for a brief time, then quickly disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, and artistic expression or include others into the dance for a cause”.
We members of the Turkish Canadian Society, are performing this flash mob to celebrate and get attention for the upcoming 98th anniversary of the Turkish Republic Day (or Cumhuriyet Bayrami in Turkish) on 29th October. The silhouette in front of the flash mobbers’ t-shirts, alongside our society’s logo, depicts Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic.
What happened on October 29th and why it is a significant day for the Turkish community?
The 29th of October marks the 98th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey. Turkish people all over the globe celebrate this day as ‘Cumhuriyet Bayrami’ to mark their independence and their new constitution which replaced the Ottoman Empire’s.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the new state, proclaimed this day as Turkey’s most important holiday. On this day many festivities, including performances and parades, take place. Many people also choose this day to pay their respect to Ataturk and leave flowers at his mausoleum in Ankara. There are flags put up everywhere and as well as fireworks.
Who is Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and why he is important?
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881 – November 10, 1938) was a field marshal, statesman, author and the founding father of the Republic of Turkey. Appointed by the parliament, he served as the first president of Turkey from 1923 until his death in 1938.
He facilitated immense progressive reforms, called ‘Ataturk’s Revolutions’ modernizing Turkey into a secular and industrialized nation. He is known as one of the most influential figures of the 20th century with his attention to education and women’s rights. He made primary education free and mandatory, opening thousands of schools across the country. He granted women equal civil and political rights, becoming one of the first countries in the world to do so. He also introduced the Latin-based Turkish alphabet, replacing the old Ottoman Turkish alphabet. Ataturk was recognized as a centennial world leader by UNESCO in 1981, and there were celebrations throughout that year.
What is TCS and what they do?
The Turkish-Canadian Society (TCS) was founded in 1963 and since then has been striving towards increasing public knowledge and appreciation of Turkish arts, culture, history, and traditions.
We have been contributing to the vibrant multi-cultural character of British Columbia, specifically, by organizing and participating in festivals, exhibitions, concerts and musical or dance events. Our annual celebration events, the Republic Day and Turkish-Canadian Friendship Night, as well as the Turkish Sovereignty and Children’s Day have always been community favorites. Our TOPLUM magazine has attracted a large audience. Additionally, The Vancouver Turkish Film Festival (VTFF) has been a great success since its inauguration in 2011. The Turkish Choir (established 2003) has participated in many musical events and multicultural festivals around Vancouver and performed annual concerts, regularly. As a community, we are grateful to be a part of the BC Arts and Culture fabric.
Turkish-Canadian Society – Turkish Sovereignty and Children’s Day Celebration – 2011, 2004
Turkish-Canadian Society – AGM – 2009 Turkish Canadian Society – Vancouver Turkish Film Festival (VTFF) – 2019
Turkish-Canadian Society – Folk Dances Group – European Festival – 2008
Turkish-Canadian Society – TOPLUM Magazine