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COMMONWEALTH DAY

Quick Facts : Commonwealth Day

  • Date: Mar 14, 2016
  • National
  • Also Called:
  • Celebrations: Multi-faith service in Westminster Abbey
Commonwealth Day iImage Credit: wikiPedia

The Commonwealth of Nations celebrate Commonwealth Day every year, on second Monday in March. The Commonwealth is an inter-governmental organization consisting of 52 former British colonies along with Rwanda and Mozambique, founded in 1959 and united by the Singapore Declaration of 1971. The Declaration outlines common goals for Commonwealth countries, including the promotion of democracy, human rights, egalitarianism and world peace. The Commonwealth is also connected through a shard culture, expressed through sports, literary heritage and political and legal structures.

Commonwealth Day was marked for the first time as "Empire Day" on the last school day before Queen Victoria's birthday, 24th May, in 1898. In 1904 it was introduced in the UK and the other members of the erstwhile British Empire, and in 1958 it was renamed Commonwealth Day. It began as an opportunity for people to show pride in being the Queen's people, i.e. allegiance to the British Empire, and continued as a celebration of the new post-colonial relationship shared between Britain and its former colonies. It was often conflated with Victoria Day, which was a commemoration of the monarch's life marked with bonfires and fireworks. It was finally instituted as a Commonwealth-wide holiday in 1976, based on a recommendation by the Royal Commonwealth Society's National Council in Canada. The second Monday in March was chosen as a day with no existing historical connotations.

While Commonwealth Day is not a public holiday, the Canadian federal government orders government installations worldwide, such as federal buildings, airports, military bases etc. to fly the Royal Union Flag alongside Canada's own flag on this day. There is a multi-faith service at Westminster Abbey, usually where the Queen delivers an address to Commonwealth which is broadcast throughout the world. In Canada, the Prime Minister and other ministers make statements as well. Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney noted in 2012, "Our historical Commonwealth ties have provided Canada with many of the fundamental values that are at the foundation of our society, such as freedom, democracy, and the rule of law." The Prime Minister called it an "opportunity to celebrate the strong bonds of cooperation and friendship that exist among the 54 countries that form the Commonwealth." 2012 has special significance since it is also the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's rule. Apart from governmental observances however, it is not a widely celebrated holiday, though sometimes there are receptions and exhibitions held in the honor of the Commonwealth.

Certain other countries like the UK, Australia, Belize and the Bahamas also celebrate Commonwealth Day with special programs, assemblies and flag-raising ceremonies in schools. Overall, the day is observed to mark the contribution of the Commonwealth of Nations to the creation of a harmonious global environment

Commonwealth Day Observances

DAY
DATE
HOLIDAY NAME
  • Mon
  • Mar 10, 2008
  • Mon
  • Mar 09, 2009
  • Mon
  • Mar 08, 2010
  • Mon
  • Mar 14, 2011
  • Mon
  • Mar 12, 2012
  • Mon
  • Mar 11, 2013
  • Mon
  • Mar 10, 2014
  • Mon
  • Mar 09, 2015
  • Mon
  • Mar 14, 2016

Canada holidays celebrated in year 2016

DAY
DATE
HOLIDAY NAME
  • Fri
  • Jan 01, 2016
  • Mon
  • Feb 08, 2016
  • Sun
  • Feb 14, 2016
  • Mon
  • Feb 15, 2016
  • Mon
  • Mar 14, 2016
  • Thu
  • Mar 17, 2016
  • Fri
  • Mar 25, 2016
  • Sun
  • Mar 27, 2016
  • Mon
  • Mar 28, 2016
  • Fri
  • Jul 01, 2016
  • Mon
  • Sep 05, 2016
  • Mon
  • Oct 10, 2016
  • Mon
  • Oct 31, 2016
  • Fri
  • Nov 11, 2016
  • Sun
  • Dec 25, 2016