Armed Forces Day, celebrated on October 6 in Egypt, is so important. It shows how war has a lasting impact on any country, and its people, no matter the outcome. It commemorates the October War, which was fought to capture the Bar-Lev Line, which led to the establishment of a more robust and unified Egypt. On this day, celebrations fill the air, and thousands of people take to the streets to honor the army and the leaders that led the country to victory in 1973.
History of Egypt: Armed Forces Day
Armed Forces Day is observed in Egypt on October 6, the date on which the October War of 1973 began with the Egyptian Army’s successful crossing of the Suez Canal, culminating in the capture of the Bar-Lev Line. It marks the beginning of the Yom Kippur War against Israel in 1973. The date is one of Egypt’s most important annual events and was designated as a national holiday to commemorate the victory and honor the martyrs among the country’s military personnel.
Egypt lost control of the Sinai Peninsula during the Six-Day War with Israel in June 1967. On October 6, 1973, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat launched a surprise attack in an attempt to reclaim the territory. The Syrians backed the attack, which was initially successful when more than 80,000 Egyptian troops breached Israeli fortifications and took control of Sinai territory. The Egyptians were forced to retreat after two days when the Israeli army counterattacked and surrounded the Egyptian forces. The war was ended by a cease-fire mediated by the United States. The assault failed to liberate the Sinai Peninsula, but it directly led to Camp David talks organized by U.S. President Jimmy Carter. These talks resulted in the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, which led the Sinai Peninsula to be returned to Egypt.
Armed Forces Day celebrations typically include military parades, patriotic television shows, songs, fireworks displays, and other events. After President Sadat was assassinated during an Armed Forces Day parade in Cairo in 1981, the holiday took on a new significance. It now celebrated not only the victory of the country but also one of its most influential leaders and political figures.
Egypt: Armed Forces Day timeline
Muhammad Anwar Sadat is born and will go on to become a politician and military officer, serving as the third president of Egypt.
Egypt loses control of the Sinai Peninsula during the Six-Day War with Israel.
The Egyptian president launches a surprise attack on the Sinai Peninsula to try and reclaim the territory.
President Muḥammad Anwar Sadat is assassinated during Cairo's Armed Forces Day parade.
Egypt: Armed Forces Day FAQs
Is the Egyptian army strong?
The Egyptian army has an estimated strength of 310,000 members as of 2021, with approximately 90,000 to 120,000 professionals and the remainder conscripts. There are another 375,000 reservists.
Is Egypt a powerful country?
Egypt is regarded as a regional power in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Muslim world, as well as a global middle power. It is a developing country, with a Human Development Index ranking of 116th.
Why is Egypt so successful?
The ability of ancient Egyptian civilization to adapt to the agricultural conditions of the Nile River valley contributed to its success. The fertile valley’s predictable flooding and controlled irrigation produced surplus crops, which supported a more dense population, social development, and culture.
Egypt: Armed Forces Day Activities
Watch a patriotic movie or show
Political movies and television shows offer both education and entertainment to people interested in learning about a nation’s past and achievements. By watching an Egyptian patriotic television show, you can get a fair idea about the country’s history and armed forces.
Welcome the day with fireworks
For ages, fireworks displays have been used to celebrate occasions and people in a grand way. So head to your local store to buy some fireworks, and light them up in honor of Egypt.
Observe a military parade
If you’re lucky enough to be in Egypt on Armed Forces Day, you can go and observe their parades and other patriotic events, which can be incredibly fascinating for someone from a different country. You’ll get to hang out with locals and try new foods and experiences.
5 Interesting Facts About Egypt
Enslaved people did not build the pyramids
The belief that slaves built the pyramids is actually not true; paid workers built them.
Facebook is big in this country
Egypt has the most active Facebook community in the Middle East, with five million users.
English and French are widely spoken
Arabic is the official language in Egypt, but many people also speak English or French.
Egyptians invented a 12-month calendar
The ancient Egyptians invented a 365-day calendar to predict the annual flooding of the Nile River.
Cairo is among the largest cities
Cairo is the largest city in Africa and the Middle East, with an estimated population of 22 million people and an area of approximately 175 square miles.
Why We Love Egypt: Armed Forces Day
A legendary figure is honored
Sadat, in his eleven years as president, changed Egypt's course, abandoning many of Nasserism's political and economic tenets, reinstituting a multi-party system, and launching the Infitah monetary policy. For such an iconic figure that impacted his country, nothing short of a massive celebration should be held to commemorate his legacy on the day he was assassinated.
The armed forces are celebrated
Egypt is a country that has seen a lot of turmoil and injustice. On significant events like Armed Forces Day, people get to come together and celebrate their resilience, progress, and future.
There is a strong sense of community and pride
There is a powerful sense of community and togetherness at the many patriotic events held on this special day that can’t be ignored. While the celebration is focused on the armed forces and the former president, it is also a moment to honor the country, the people, and their rich history. It also brings so many travelers to Egypt.
Egypt: Armed Forces Day dates