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World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day

May 8, 2020

World Red Cross Day is marked on 8 May annually to commemorate the birth anniversary of Henry Dunant, the founder of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). It is celebrated every year to honour the contribution of it’s volunteers to the people who are in need.

The first Red Cross Day was marked on 8 May 1948. Subsequently, the names of the day have been changed and finally settled with the name “World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day” in 1984.


In 1859, Henry Dunant witnessed the aftermath of the Battle of Solferino where thousands of soldiers and civilians died and wounded. Later, he advocated the creation of national relief organisations with trained volunteers who could offer assistance to the war-wounded soldiers irrespective of the sides they were fighting for. In 1963, Dunant set up a national relief association which later became the International Committee of the Red Cross. 

It adopted the symbol of the red cross on white background, an inverse to the Switzerland national flag, to identify the medical workers on the battleground. But in the 1870s, the red cross was replaced by red crescent by the Ottoman Empire, and many Islamic Countries followed that move. 

Did you know?

Henry Dunant was the first recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.