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Op 3 Junie 1865 besluit die Volksraad van die Z.A.R dat 16 Desember voortaan ‘n publieke vakansiedag sou wees.

Paul Kruger se familie het by Hendrik Potgieter se trekgeselskap aangesluit in 1836 toe laasgenoemde deur hul distrik naby die Caledonrivier getrek het oppad na die binneland.

Klein Oom Paul was toe 11 jaar oud.

Met die dood van Piet Retief in Februarie 1838 & die opvolgende slagtings daarna, het die Krugers saam met die Potgieter trek Natal verlaat en in Desember 1838 is Potchefstroom gestig deur Hendrik Potgieter, en was hulle nie betrokke tydens die Slag van Bloedrivier op 16 Desember 1838 nie.

Viering van 16 Desember was hoofsaaklik informeel onder die Natal trekkers tot en met die instelling van dié dag deur die ZAR Volksraad in 1865, en word dit “Dingaansdag” genoem (dit sou eers in 1952 herdoop word tot “Geloftedag”).

Die Eerste Vryheidsoorlog (Eerste Boereoorlog) wat op 16 Desember 1880 uitbreek, met die eerste skote wat in Potchefstroom afgevuur word, was ‘n direkte gevolg van anneksasie van die ZAR deur Brittanje in 1877, en is ‘n Geloftediens by Paardekraal gehou op die dag wat die Oorlog begin het.

Paul Kruger was van mening dat die anneksasie van Brittanje van die Transvaal ‘n Goddelike straf was vanweë die feit dat die nasate van die Trekkers nie Dingaansdag gevier het soos belowe nie.

Na die afloop van die Eerste Boereoorlog is ‘n dankdiens elke 5e jaar gehou op 16 Desember.

Tydens die fees van 1891, het President Kruger aangedui dat die feeste godsdienstig van aard moet wees.

Mag dit ‘n dag van vrede wees, waar ons kan terugkyk op ‘n wonderwerk.

“To those born of the veld there is nowhere else: the veld is synonymous with space & freedom. The sky, the moon & stars, the wind & the rain, speak to the veld people in a language all their own.

In it’s vastness the veld is like an ocean, to which it was often compared, and the trekker’s wagon was known as his ship of the veld. The trekkers even spoke of a ‘fleet’ of wagons.” 
– Johannes Meintjes, The Voortrekkers.
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