The Centennial of the First Republic of Armenia
Festivals and Events
May 28, 2018 marks the centennial of the first Republic of Armenia. On this day in 1918 Armenian National Council declared the independence of the Republic of Armenia. This day is one of the most beloved Armenian holidays out there.
The History of Events
After the end of the Ottoman Empire’s control, Armenians were under the rule of the Russian Empire. The latter fought against the Ottomans alongside Armenians. Yet, in October 2017, the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia. Armenia refused to cooperate with the communist Bolshevik government. Armenians continued to collaborate with the Russians hoping to remove Bolsheviks from power.
From May 21 to 28, 1918 battles took place near Gharakilisa, Bash-Aparan and Sardarapat. In these battles Armenian forces were able to stop the Turkish army. The final miraculous victory over the Turkish regular army took place in Bash-Aparan and Sardarapat.
At that time, various peace meetings happened with the Ottomans. Georgians and Armenians were not content from the suggestions that came to them. Georgia and Azerbaijan declared about their independence on May 26 and May 27 respectively. Feeling abandoned by its regional allies, Armenia declared its independence on May 28. The road to independence was led by Russian Armenian intellectuals.
The declaration of independence of Armenia said the following: "Under the new circumstances after final collapse of Transcaucasia and declaration of independence of Georgia and Azerbaijan, the Armenian National Board declared itself the only and supreme power on the Armenian provinces. By some weighty reasons the National Council temporarily takes all the functions of the government to rule on the Armenian provinces.”
The Importance of the Day for the Armenian History
The First Republic of Armenia lasted only for two years. On 29 November, 1920, Armenia became a part of the Soviet Union, after the Russian Red Army entered Armenia. However, this two-year period has been an important pillar of the Armenian history.
Although the first Republic had a short life, it was the first expression of the Armenian sovereignty since 1375. It was due to the establishment of the First Republic that Armenia later managed to be a member country of the USSR, which later allowed Armenia to become an independent country in 1991.
The First Republic Days marks the revival of Armenian statehood. The present-day Republic of Armenia adopted the national symbols of the First Republic: the flag, the national anthem, and the coat-of-arms.
How the Day is celebrated?
On May 28 streets in Armenia are decorated with the national colors of red, blue, and orange. Armenians usually spend the day with family and friends over a table of dinner.
On this day, highly ranked officials and ordinary people visit Sardarapat memorial, the place where the final fierce battle took place. It is one of the interesting places to visit in Armenia. The memorial is located in Armavir region, 45 kilometers from the capital Yerevan.
As this is a non-working day in the country, the youth usually spend the day at outdoor cafes of Yerevan. In the evening, a beautiful firework concludes the historical day with bright colors.