By Brenda Enfua

Source: Wells Bring Hope

I often like to flip through my calendar and mark any holiday I can find as a reminder to celebrate. There are multiple holidays recognized in Niger including New Year’s Day, Easter Monday, and Labor Day, but one that deserves special attention is Concord Day, which takes place every year on April 24th.

Concord Day commemorates a peace agreement between the Nigerien government and the rebel Tuareg groups that was signed on April 24, 1995. The agreement marked the beginning of the end of armed conflict that had developed due to extreme famine and an economic crisis that changed the migratory routes of nomadic tribes, bringing them into conflict with one another.

Although April 24, 1995, marked the official beginning of peaceful times, the fighting did not officially end until 1999 when the last rebel group signed the accord. All of this culminated in a huge celebration on September 25, 2000, which was known as the “Flame of Peace.” This event centered around the mass burning of weapons to officially celebrate peace after many years of unrest within the country.

Today, Concord Day is a public holiday, so businesses and government offices close for the day. Concord Day festivities include lively street celebrations, youth-centered activities, and speeches by the president and various other leaders and politicians.

It is easy to get caught up in the festivities and overlook the true meaning of holidays, but it is imperative to recognize and understand the reason for the celebration. This is particularly true for holidays like Concord Day, which remind us, today more than ever, how fragile peace can be.

Source: Wells Bring Hope