Explore the significance of Fenkil Day in Eritrea, a testament to courage and resilience. Join us in commemorating the victory and legacy of this historic event
- Date: February 10th
- Main Components: Parades, speeches, cultural shows, sports events, fireworks
- Popularity: High among Eritreans and supporters of Eritrea’s independence
- Pairings: Eritrean flag, EPLF flag, EPLF anthem, Eritrean cuisine
- Variations: None
Fenkil Day is a national holiday in Eritrea that commemorates the liberation of Massawa, the country’s main port city, from Ethiopian occupation in 1990. The liberation of Massawa was a decisive victory for the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), a rebel group that fought for Eritrea’s independence from Ethiopia for 30 years. Fenkil Day is celebrated every year on February 10, the anniversary of the start of the Fenkil Offensive, also known as the Second Battle of Massawa. Fenkil Day is a symbol of Eritrea’s struggle and achievement for self-determination and sovereignty.
Eritrea is a country in East Africa that borders Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti, and the Red Sea. Eritrea was colonized by Italy in 1890 and became part of Italian East Africa in 1936. After World War II, Eritrea was placed under British administration until 1952, when it became a federation with Ethiopia under the United Nations. In 1962, Ethiopia annexed Eritrea and abolished its autonomy, sparking a rebellion by Eritrean nationalists who formed the EPLF in 1970. The EPLF waged a guerrilla war against the Ethiopian army, which was supported by the Soviet Union and Cuba. The EPLF gradually gained control over most of Eritrea’s territory, except for some major cities such as Massawa and Asmara, the capital.
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The Fenkil Offensive was a surprise attack by the EPLF on Massawa that lasted from February 8 to February 11, 1990. The EPLF used speedboats, tanks, artillery, and infantry to assault the Ethiopian garrison in Massawa, which was heavily fortified and outnumbered the rebels. The EPLF also cut off the supply lines and communication of the Ethiopian forces by destroying bridges, roads, and power stations. The EPLF faced fierce resistance from the Ethiopian troops, who used helicopters, jets, and chemical weapons to counterattack. The EPLF overcame the odds and captured Massawa after four days of intense fighting, killing or capturing thousands of Ethiopian soldiers and seizing large amounts of weapons and equipment.
Significance and Impact
The liberation of Massawa was a turning point in the Eritrean War for Independence, as it gave the EPLF access to the sea and a strategic base for further operations. The liberation of Massawa also dealt a severe blow to the Ethiopian regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam, which was already facing economic and political crises and internal rebellions. The liberation of Massawa inspired other oppressed peoples in Africa and around the world to fight for their rights and freedom. The liberation of Massawa paved the way for the final offensive on Asmara in May 1991, which led to the end of the war and the declaration of Eritrea’s independence on May 24, 1991.
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Celebration and Observance
Fenkil Day is celebrated every year on February 10 with various activities such as parades, speeches, cultural shows, sports events, and fireworks. Fenkil Day is also a time to remember and honor the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for Eritrea’s liberation. Fenkil Day is also an occasion to reflect on the achievements and challenges of Eritrea as a sovereign nation. Fenkil Day is also an opportunity to promote peace and cooperation among Eritreans and with neighboring countries.
Fenkil Day is a national holiday in Eritrea that celebrates the liberation of Massawa from Ethiopian occupation in 1990. The liberation of Massawa was a decisive victory for the EPLF, which fought for Eritrea’s independence for 30 years. The liberation of Massawa was a symbol of Eritrea’s struggle and achievement for self-determination and sovereignty. Fenkil Day is a day of pride and joy for all Eritreans and their friends who support their cause.