International Cartoon Day – 18 September

International Cartoon Day – 18 September

Since 2017 18th September is celebrated as International Cartoon Day to show solidarity for freedom of speech. Drawing cartoon is not a crime.

National Cartoon Day is observed on May 5th each year, National Cartoonists day honors all those creative ink-stained artists, past and present, and the fascinating pieces they have created. Throughout the years, their talents bring humor, and entertainment into our lives while provoking thought and debate, too.

Haven’t you noticed those daily newspaper cartoons with the word bubble and forgot to glance at other news for a while? There would be many for whom those cartoons are the favorite part of the morning newspaper. Those creative sketches will deliver the reader so much valuable information seriously or comically. Creating such characters for the paper needs a higher level of creativity and humor skills. 

The First Cartoon Character: In 1895, Richard F. Outcault introduced the “Yellow Kid”, the first cartoon character. He appeared in publisher Joseph Pulitzer’s New York world, running from 1895 to 1898. This bald kid in a yellow nightshirt later ran in William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal.

Suggested Read: International Animation Day

History of International Cartoon Day

Arifur Rahman is an award-winning cartoonist from Bangladesh. On 17 September 2007, Arif published a controversial cartoon about the use of the name ‘Mohammed’. As soon as it appeared in the newspaper, it attracted negative attention and the fury of Muslim leaders. The cartoon sparked off riots in Dhaka and across Bangladesh, and Arifur, 20 years old at the time, was arrested, while the newspaper Prothom Alo, the publishers of Alpin, were brought to the brink of shutting down.

Arif was arrested and interrogated. It was on 18 September when the Government of Bangladesh banned the cartoon and its sale. The cartoonist lost his job he was arrested, tortured, and imprisoned. Since then worldwide cartoonists is marking 18 September as International Cartoon Day.

Entitled “Name,” it made harmless fun of the custom in Muslim countries of putting the name Mohammed in front of one’s given name. The drawing was accompanied by this dialogue: – Boy, what’s your name? – My name is Babu. – It is customary to put Mohammed in front of the name. – What is your father’s name? – Mohammed Abu. – What is that on your lap? – Mohammed cat. Religious leaders have called for the cartoonist to be severely punished and for Prothom Alo, one of the country’s leading dailies, to be closed. Copies of the newspaper have been burned outside one of the capital’s mosques.

Arifur has become a champion for the cause of cartooning, gaining solidarity from groups such as the Cartoonist Rights Network International, and the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN), which facilitated his safe exile to Norway.

The story of Arifur Rahman comes with a forewarning — it isn’t meant to be taken lightly, or emulated, even for a seemingly harmless joke. 

The slogan of the day


Spread awareness of the day by reposting every post with the hashtag #CartoonDay or #InternationalCartoonDay.

Suggested Read: Important Days In September

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.