Revolution Day is an Eritrean patriotic holiday that takes place on 1 September each year. As Independence Day in Eritrea is set on the date when independence was declared and essentially achieved in 1991, even so, Revolution Day’s date is the day in 1961 when the Eritrean Liberation Front fired the first shots to start the war of independence.
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Revolution Day marks the historic beginning of a thirty-year, bloody struggle. There were complex motives for the goal of independence, and the exact nature of the conflict changed drastically over the course of three decades. But the dream of a free and independent Eritrea was finally achieved, and the people of this country cling fiercely to their freedom to this very day.
In part, it was cultural and geographic differences that created a separate identity for Eritreans as opposed to Ethiopians. They were the coastal peoples, while Ethiopia is settled primarily by inland mountain-dwellers. There was also a religious dimension with differences of opinion between Christian Ethiopians and Muslim Eritreans being involved.
Also, trade and interaction with Arab and Muslim countries in the Middle East and North African was a much bigger factor for Eritrea than for Ethiopia. All of this combines to give Eritrea a national identity and is part and parcel of the patriotic celebrations on September First Revolution Day.
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