National Statehood Day- 12 December
Southern Azerbaijanis commemorate the 12 December as the National Statehood Day since the Azerbaijan People Republic was established on 12 December (21 Azer) of 1945, under the leadership of the Azerbaijan Democratic Party and its charismatic leader Mr. Jafar Pishevari who also served as the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Southern Azerbaijan between 1945-1946. The National Statehood Day is mostly celebrated by Southern Azerbaijani communities living abroad since Iranian government suppresses such attempts inside Southern Azerbaijan.
Genocide Day—17 December
17th December is the anniversary of the Southern Azerbaijanis genocide carried out by the Tehran regime during its occupation and the overthrowing of Azerbaijan
People’s Republic in 1946. During this invasion, 35000 Southern Azerbaijani civilians were killed and half a million were exiled or arbitrarily detained.
The mass killings was discussed at the Nuremberg Court in 1948 and finally in 1950 was legally recognized as an act of genocide.
The United States Supreme Court Associate Justice William O. Douglas in his famous book “Strange Lands and Friendly People” notes the event, he describes as vandalism done by Iran Army in Azerbaijan reminds him of the Nazis soldiers’ behavior towards France. This violence is known as the Genocide in Southern Azerbaijan.
Book Burning Day—17 December
During the aforementioned invasion of Southern Azerbaijan by the Pahlavi regime in 1946 all the books found to be published in the Azerbaijani Turkic language were burnt in public on 17 December 1946.
The public use of Azerbaijani people`s mother tongue has been prohibited since then.
The United Nations has accorded the aforesaid actions against the Southern Azerbaijanis between 15 December 1948 and 19 December 1966, as breach of the international covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and it has also been declared as cultural genocide.
Southern Azerbaijani civil activists hold special ceremonies on “book day”. They present Azerbaijani Turkish books to each other as gifts and some even donate Turkish books to retailers.
International Mother Language Day—21 February
Since Azerbaijani language has played an important role in awaking of Southern Azerbaijan people and also in profile raising of Azerbaijani identity, every year in February 21, Azerbaijani activists prepare gatherings and demonstrations against the governing regime in the face of large personal risks.
National Uprising Day—22 May
In May 2006, a discriminatory cartoon was published in “Iran”, Iran`s
bestselling magazine analogizing Turks to beetles feeding from the Fars’s toilet. It followed to ask how to prevent the increase in the beetles population. And answered that they were mostly not able to talk in their own language, it suggest that, the Fars, should not even spare the time to defecate on the beetles. This clear political and media bullying to promote cultural assimilation is strong in Iran, however, causes great offence to the nationalities.
Thus, on the 22 May, hundreds of thousands of Southern Azerbaijanis demonstrate in Tabriz and other major cities, and even some of the smaller towns of Southern Azerbaijan. During the uprising hundreds of protesters were killed and injured, and thousand more imprisoned. However, it became a turning point in the Southern Azerbaijan national awaking movement’s resistance against the religious theocracy which dominates in Iran. Since then, every year on “The National Uprising Day” Southern Azerbaijan people do demonstrations and have ceremonies in memory of those killed in 2006.