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January 25, 2020

Republic Day - A Patriotic, National Holiday in India

This week in India, small Indian flags are being sold along every street in preparation for Republic Day. School children and office workers across India decorate their spaces an may have cultural and patriotic programs to celebrate this day.
Republic Day Celebrations at Work, Infopark, Kerala
Photo: Krishna Kumar
What is Republic Day?
India became independent from British rule on 15th August 1947 (Independence Day) and it wasn’t until three years later that India’s constitution came into force, thus completing the country’s transition to an independent and democratic republic. On the 26th of January 1950, a twenty one gun salute was fired, the Indian National flag hoisted by Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, and the Indian republic was born. 
Delhi Gate lit for Republic Day. Photo by Krishna Kumar.
When is Republic Day? 
Republic day is celebrated every year on January the 26th, in every state of India. This patriotic celebration is one of the three Indian national holidays (the others being Independence day and Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday). Schools and many businesses are closed to allow India to celebrate wholeheartedly! 
View the Republic Day in Live Stream on YouTube

How is Republic Day celebrated?
The main Republic Day celebration can be found in India’s capital city, New Delhi (photo, right). A huge, colourful parade is televised across the nation, celebrating India’s rich heritage and diverse culture. The parade most importantly pays tribute to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for India. After the spectacular parade, a twenty-one gun salute is sounded, the Indian flag unfurled by the current President and the national anthem sang. Across the country, thousands of smaller parades are held by school children and the armed forces.
Kerala Tableau 2019 Parade (Screen Shot from Live Stream)
The city I live in, Nagpur, becomes awash with orange, white and green flags. There are flags were on every street, fluttering on cars, hanging from homes and children’s faces are painted the nations colours. Almost every shop has flags stuck to their windows or orange, white and green balloons at their entrances. India is a very patriotic country and it’s marvelous to see! 

Small talk topic
Republic Day is a day when India celebrates being free from outside rule and remembers the freedom fighters to gave their lives for their independence. As a British citizen living in India, Republic Day has the potential to be a sensitive subject. British people who have read the history may feel some ‘post-colonial’ guilt and I have had occasions where I have been confronted with hateful comments from Indians for being British. 

The actions of some of our ancestors were beyond awful and inhumane. I personally believe that people cannot be blamed for the actions of their ancestors, religion, nationality or race. Only a small minority of Indians feel hate towards this generation of Westerners, most don’t blame people by association. I, like most Indians I have discussed this topic with, feel it’s important not to wipe away the history from our consciousness, but to learn from mistakes and treat everyone equally, regardless of race, religion, gender or nationality. 

The Kerala Tableau in 2019 featured folk decor from a village north
of Trivandrum, Oachira.

This is not a holiday of grudges; this is a holiday of pride and joy. If you have an Indian friend or colleague who grew up in India, they would probably love to talk about their childhood memories of Republic Day. Republic day is full of parties, socialising and fun but it’s good to remember that Republic Day is a ‘dry day’ across India and most shops, bars and restaurants will not serve alcohol. 

On the 26th of January, remember to wish the Indians you know a “Happy Republic Day”.

Lauren Mokasdar quit her job and moved to India from England after falling in love with an Indian man online, she now writes about her experiences as an English wife living in India @

Related Posts: 
When is India's Independence Day? (Authentic Journeys blog)
American and Indian (South Asian) Holidays 2015 (Authentic Journeys blog)
updated: Jan 2020

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