Independence Day is celebrated every 1 October. The day includes festivals and parades of schools and the military, including the display of tanks and other armoury. At the end of the day, a special open event is held at the President’s Palace.
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This holiday is separate from National Day, which is marked on 1 April. Both holidays relate to the same process of independence for Cyprus but each recognises a different event.
During the second half of the 1950s, Cyprus was involved in a prolonged and, often, violent struggle to gain independence from Britain. Some of this involved politics but some of it involved a guerilla-type force called EOKA that used armed forces to attack British troops.
In January of 1959, an agreement was signed in Zurich between Greece, Turkey, Britain and Cyprus. This agreement was fine-tuned and came into effect on 1 October 1960 – hence the date on which Independence Day is celebrated.
During the earlier months of 1960, the Cyprus flag was designed, with the design being accepted by the President and Vice-President. It is a white flag with a copper-filled shape of the island of Cyprus that is underlined with two green olive branches. This flag is a large feature of the Independence Day celebrations. It is flown from buildings, tanks and flagpoles, and is carried by school children and military units.