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India's Republic Day: What You Need To Know

When is India’s Republic Day?

Indian Republic Day falls on January 26 every year.

What is India’s Republic Day?

Republic Day is one of the three Indian national holidays and commemorates the promulgation of the Constitution of India, which took place on January 26, 1950. India became independent from Great Britain on August 15, 1947 (which is celebrated as a separate national holiday), but during its first three years the country continued to be largely governed by the Government of India’s Colonial Act of 1935.

Soon after independence was declared, a constituent assembly elected by the provincial assemblies set about drafting the constitution that would govern the newly independent nation. After more than two years, India’s constitution was completed and consolidated the establishment of India’s independent democratic government. January 26 was chosen as the official date of promulgation as a nod to the Purna Swaraj (complete self-rule) declaration of independence by the Indian National Congress in 1930, considered the first concrete step toward independence from Britain.

With the 1950 Constitution, the country was officially renamed the Republic of India, a “democratic, sovereign and socialist republic” that “guarantees to all its citizens justice, liberty, equality and fraternity,” according to its preamble.

How is India’s Republic Day Celebrated?

The main event of the holiday is a massive parade held in the capital, New Delhi, which includes cultural, historical and military displays. Prior to the parade, the Prime Minister lays a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti – an arched war memorial – and observes a moment of silence in memory of fallen soldiers.

Smaller parades, cultural programs, public celebrations and private parties are held throughout the country, as most businesses, schools and government offices are closed. The festivities officially close on January 29 with the soldiers’ retirement ceremony in New Delhi, featuring the bands of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force.

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