Friday, January 25, 2008

India, France take N-step forward
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy reviews troops at Rashtrapati Bhawan on Friday.

Republic Day

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Frecce tricolori at the Festa della Repubblica in Italy, 2nd of June 2005.
Frecce tricolori at the Festa della Repubblica in Italy, 2nd of June 2005.

January 9th in Republika Srpska, BiH

After Yugoslavia fall apart, Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina wanted to stay with Serbia and Montenegro. Croats and Muslims wanted to create an independent state of BiH. On 9th January 1992, Bosnian Serb authorities declared creation of Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which later changed name into Republika Srpska (Republic of Srpska, Serb Republic). Since that day, Republic of Srpska celebrates that day as a Republic Day.

January 26th in India

Soldiers of the Madras Regiment during the annual Republic Day Parade in 2004.
Soldiers of the Madras Regiment during the annual Republic Day Parade in 2004.

The Constitution of India came into force, and India declared itself as a "Republic" on January 26, 1950, a date thereafter celebrated annually as Republic Day in India. The Constitution had been drafted by the Constituent Assembly which was set up when India gained its independence from the British in 1947. This, in fact, was a deliberate act: the 26th of January was initially India's "Independence Day", one of Mahatma Gandhi's many symbolic acts during India's struggle for freedom against British colonial rule, and the adoption of the Constitution on this date was felt able to strengthen its initial meaning, one calling for Indians of all ages to declare their freedom from the British Raj. It is one of three national holidays in India, the other two being the nation's Independence Day on August 15 (since 1947) and the birthday of Mohandas K Gandhi or Mahatma Gandhi on October 2. And so, after the disposal of the Empire of India, King George VI was the last and only "King" of modern India.

To mark this occasion, a grand parade is held in New Delhi, the Capital of India, beginning from Raisina Hill near the Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Palace), along the Rajpath, past India Gate and on to the historic Red Fort in the old quarter of the city. Different infantry, cavalry and mechanized regiments of the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force march in formation, decked in all their finery and official decorations. The President of India, who is also the Commander in Chief of the Indian Armed Forces, takes the salute. The Chief Guest of the parade is a Head of State of another nation. The parade also includes many traditional dance troupes, to symbolize the cultural heritage of India. It traditionally ends with a colourful flypast by Air Force jets in a tiranga formation. Similar parades are held in the capitals of all the states of India, where the Governors of the respective states take the salute.

See also: Republic Day (India)

March 23rd in Pakistan

March 23rd commemorates the date Qarardad-e-Pakistan was approved in Lahore in 1940 and Pakistan became the first Islamic Republic in the world (1956). Therefore Queen Elizabeth II was the last ruler of Pakistan, having ruled for just over four years as head of state until the Islamic declaration. It is celebrated with parades in Islamabad that involve both military contingents, such as the Pakistan Armed Forces and Pakistan Paramilitary Forces, as well as civilian ones.

May 28 in Armenia and Azerbaijan

In May 28, 1918 Armenia and Azerbaijan declared independence from the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, thus forming Democratic Republic of Armenia and Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. It was the first sovereign republic in the history of both countries and the first sovereign state ever for Azerbaijan). However the holiday was not celebrated during Soviet times, and it only achieved consistency after the collapse of the USSR.

May 31st in South Africa (1961-1994)

Between 1961 and 1994, May 31 was celebrated in South Africa as Republic Day. This practice was discontinued in 1995 following the attainment of majority rule and the reorganisation of public holidays as a consequence. On the last Republic Day, in 1994, South Africa rejoined the Commonwealth of Nations.

June 2nd in Italy

The Festa della Repubblica is celebrated on the second day of June, and it commemorates the institutional referendum of 1946 when (by universal suffrage) the Italian population was called to decide what form of government (monarchy or republic) to give to the country after the second world war and the fall of Fascism.

After 85 years of monarchy, with 12,717,923 votes for and 10,719,284 votes against, Italy became a Republic, and the monarchs of the House of Savoy were deposed and exiled. This is one of the most important Italian public holidays which, like July 14th in France and July 4th in the USA, celebrates the birth of the nation. A grand military parade is held in central Rome.

See also: Birth of the Italian Republic

September 24th in Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago celebrates Republic Day on the September 24. Trinidad and Tobago became a republic on August 1, 1976, fourteen years after independence from the United Kingdom. Since that day was already a holiday (Discovery Day, now replaced by Emancipation Day), the holiday was placed on the birthday of the then Prime Minister, Eric Williams, although it was officially the date of the first meeting of Parliament under the republican constitution. The holiday was abolished in 1996 to make way for Spiritual Baptist/Shouter Liberation Day, but was reinstated in 2002.

October 5th in Portugal

October 5 in Portugal is known as "Implantation of the Republic" (Portuguese: Implantação da República). It commemorates the proclamation of the Portuguese First Republic in 1910.

October 10th in Republic of China

October 10 in Taiwan is a national holiday commemorating the establishment of the Republic of China in 1911, the symbolic start of the Chinese revolution with the Wuchang uprising.

October 24th in Rhodesia (1970-1979)

Although the government of Ian Smith declared Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) a republic on March 2, 1970, it was officially commemorated on October 24. Following independence in 1980, the holiday was abolished.

October 25th in Kazakhstan

In the waning days of Soviet rule, individual republics of the Soviet Union sought greater autonomy. The Soviet Union agreed in early 1990 to give up its monopoly of political power. Following the lead of Lithuanian SSR, Russian SFSR and others, Kazakh SSR declared its sovereignty on October 25, 1990, and Kazakhstan subsequently became independent on December 16, 1991 as the Soviet Union collapsed. October 25, the anniversary of the adoption of the "Declaration on State Sovereignty of Kazakh SSR" by the Kazakh legislature in 1990, is now commemorated as Republic Day (Kazakh: Республика күні), a public holiday in Kazakhstan.

October 29th in Turkey

On October 29, 1923, the Turkish constitution was amended and Turkey became a republic. This formally declared the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. Republic Day is celebrated throughout Turkey every year. Commemorative events usually begin in the afternoon on the previous day.

November 29th in former Yugoslavia (1945-1990)

On November 29, 1943 the Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia established the foundations of post-war Yugoslavia as a socialist republic, which was officially proclaimed on the same date in 1945. Republic Day (local name: Dan Republike or Дан Републике) marked the occasion two consecutive days, November 29 and 30, and was likely the most important holiday (the other two-day holidays were New Year and May Day).

In elementary schools first graders were inducted into the Pioneer Movement on or around Republic Day. Employees merged the holiday with weekends and extra days off to form 3-, 4- or even 5-day weekends. Urban dwellers took the occasion to visit their relatives in the country, who marked the event with pig slaughter and the ensuing feast.

In 1980s, as central and Communist Party authority eroded, dissenters targeted Republic Day celebrations for criticism. In 1987 Bosnian garage rock band Zabranjeno pušenje published a song entitled Dan Republike, in which they criticized the state of the economy and protested the general indifference to the ideals behind the holiday. The band needed to change some of the lyrics before being allowed to air the song.

In 1989, Slovenia and Croatia were the first former federal republics to cease observing the holiday. Other republics followed suit as Yugoslavia dissolved.

The date "29.XI.1943" figured prominently on the Yugoslav coat of arms.

December 13th in Malta

On December 13, 1974, the constitution of Malta was substantially revised, transforming the former British colony from a Commonwealth Realm into a republic within the Commonwealth. This occasion is marked every year as Republic Day in Malta.

December 30th in Romania (1948-1989)

Republic Day in other countries