National Day in Iraq is celebrated on 3 October each year, commemorating the day in 1932 when Britain ended its mandate over the country. This made Iraq independent after 17 years of British rule that followed centuries of Ottoman control.
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During World War I, Britain took Iraq from Turkey in which was under Ottoman control, and was given a mandate by the United Nations to control the country. At the time, Iraq was known as Mesopotamia. The people of Iraq began to fear that their country would become part of the British Empire leading the most eminent Shia, Ayatollah Muhammad Taqi al-Shirazi, to declare that service to Britain was unlawful.
In May 1920, demonstrations broke out in Baghdad with large gatherings at Sunni and Shia mosques. Armed revolt broke out in June 1920. British aircraft were sent, ending the revolt. Winston Churchill, who was Prime Minister at the time, along with British Parliament, installed Faysal ibn Husayn as king. In 1932, Iraq was granted independence from Britain. Many believe the 1920 revolt led to the country’s independence in 1932.
Celebrations and Traditions
The Iraqi flag is prominently displayed throughout the country on Independence Day. There are often military and civilian parades as well as ceremonies with speeches from governmental leaders. Offices, businesses and schools are closed so that citizens can celebrate the country’s independence from Britain.