Every 22 May Yemen celebrates the Day of National Unity, or “Unity Day” for short. The date looks back to the time in 1990 when South and North Yemen united to form a single country.
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A long, complex history brought about the division of Yemen into two countries. First, the Ottoman Empire conquered the northern part of Yemen, while the southern portion remained free. But the British took control of that part of Yemen and made it a colony that was an important stop-off point on the route between India and the Suez Canal.
Then North Yemen became independent when the Ottoman Empire fell after World War I. Later, in 1967, South Yemen gained its independence from the British Empire. At first, the two Yemens were rivals and even had a “civil war” between them. But finally, after years of planning and cooperation, the two united to form one Yemen on 22 May, 1990.
On Unity Day, the president of Yemen gives a speech and oversees a military ceremony. A celebration takes place in the capital city of Sana, banks close down, and workers get a day off to celebrate the unity of their nation.