Government declares February 11th as public holiday

When is Islamic Revolution Day?

Islamic Revolution Day is a public holiday in Iran observed on the 22nd day of the Persian month of Bhaman. This means it is celebrated on February 11th in the western calendar.

Known in Iran as known as Bahman 22nd, it is the National Day of Iran and marks the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

History of Islamic Revolution Day

Iran had been an absolute monarchy ruled by the Pahlavi dynasty since 1925. In the 1960s, a series of reforms intended to modernise Iran had failed to improve the economic conditions. Large-scale rioting took place following the arrest of the cleric, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini who had made a speech attacking the Shah. Khomeini was sent into exile in November 1964.

In 1978, resistance against the rule of the Shah intensified, with marches, demonstration, and strikes paralysing the country. Recognising that he had lost control and suffering from ill-health, the Shah left Iran on January 16th 1979.

On February 1st 1979, Khomeini made a triumphal return to Iran and led the campaign to overthrow the remnants of the Shah’s rule.

Ten days later, the Pahlavi royal regime was defeated when Iran’s military declared itself “neutral” after rebel troops overwhelmed those still loyal to the Shah.

Two months later, the new government held a referendum on establishing the Islamic Republic based on a new constitution replacing the Persian monarchy that had ruled for 2,500 years. This event is marked by another public holiday, Islamic Republic Day.

Khomeini served as Supreme Leader of Iran from 1979 to his death in June 1989.

The 10-day period from the return of Imam Khomeini until the revolution’s victory is celebrated annually in Iran and is known as the Ten-Day Fajr (Dawn).

Every year on February 11th, large rallies and marches take place through the boulevards of Iran’s cities in remembrance of those who died for the struggle of independence and to pay tribute to Ayatollah Khomeini and his role in liberating the country.

In Tehran, the marches end at Azadi (Liberty) Square which has become the focal point of annual celebrations. The day is also marked by firework displays in the evening.

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