Republic Day in India is celebrated on January 26th and is a gazetted holiday. The term ‘gazetted holiday’ is used in countries such as India, Singapore and Australia which were all formerly colonized by the British.
Republic Day came into effect for the first time on 26th January 1950 to honour the day the Constitution of India came into force.
It is one of three national holidays in India, the other two being Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti. Independence Day celebrates India’s freedom from British rule and is not to be confused with Republic Day which celebrates the Constitution of India. Dr. Rajendra Prasad, who was the first President of the Republic of India, unfurled the Indian National Flag while a salute of 21 guns rang out the birth of the Indian Republic.
Republic Day is celebrated throughout India in all the state capitals. Many businesses and shops close for the day along with banks, post offices and schools. A large celebration is held in New Delhi where the prime minister lays a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate in memory of the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for their country. People participate in parades all over India and school children take part by dancing and performing traditional songs. The president takes the military salute and armed forces fly past over the parade area showering the people below with rose petals.
Republic Day is a day where acts of bravery are rewarded with medals both to the military and to civilians. The armed forces display motor cycle rides and gifts are given to children. The spirit of the day focuses on the independence of India and celebrations conclude with a ‘fly past’ by the Indian Air Force where planes leave trails of smoke in the colours of the Indian flag.