In Morocco, 21 August is both Youth Day and the birth anniversary of sitting King Mohammad VI. The idea of Youth Day goes back to the Moroccan Independence Movement decades ago.
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The first Youth Day in Morocco was declared on the birthday of then-crown prince Moulay Hassan. He, in fact, was the “first youth” of the nation at the time, and he later was installed as King Hassan II. But Morocco was still under French rule, despite their having a king. And the date of Youth Day was 9 July at this time.
As Morocco began to struggle to achieve independence, it was the youth who were especially active in the movement. Youth Day was a means of bolstering their morale as the fight against French domination continued. After independence came, in 1956, Youth Day began to change into a celebration of how Morocco’s young people were contributing to the strength of the nation in all areas of society.
When Mohammad VI became king in 1999, the date of Youth Day was moved to the new monarch’s birthday, which is 21 August. The meaning of the holiday did not change with the date, however. It is still a celebration of the potential of the nation’s millions of young people.
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