Republic Day is on the way and Indian’s are getting ready to celebrate one of the biggest days of the year. Here’s why the 26th January is such a special day and a quick fire run down of Republic day facts.
- Republic Day is one of only three national holidays in India. The other two are Independence Day (15th August) which celebrates India’s Independence from the British Empire, and Gandhi Jayati (2nd October), the birthday of freedom fighter Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, also known as the Father of the Nation.
- The 26th January 1950 saw the Constitution of India come into force to replace the Government of India Act (1935). This day was chosen as it marked the day that the Indian National Congress claimed the Declaration of Indian Independence in 1930.
- The India Constitution, drafted by Dr B.R. Ambedkar, a jurist, economist, politician and social reformer who led the Buddhist Dalit movement, is the longest in the world with 448 articles. It took almost 3 years to draft and was accepted on the 26th November 1949. Since then it has seen less than 100 amendments.
- Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, the last Governor-General of India, announced the birth of the Republic of India and passed the baton to the new President, Dr Rajendra Prasad, who took the oath of office.
- India’s first election, which started in October 1951 and finished in March 1952, saw Jawahar Lal Nehru, of the Congress Party, voted into power by the people.
- Early in the mornings, for a week or so before Republic Day, dress rehearsals take place along Rajpath. School children, cadets, police and the military all take part to perfect their routine.
- The Flag Hoisting Ceremony by the Honourable President of India signals the start of the celebrations. After the tricolour has been raised the Republic Day parade passes down Rajpath. Military march pasts and a fly by from the Indian Air Force is followed by a carnival of floats from Indian’s states union territories.
- National Awards celebrating the achievements of Indians, such as Bharat Ratna, Padma Bhushan and Kirti Chakra are awarded during the ceremony.
- The celebrations doesn’t end on the 26th January. Beating the retreat, a British practice dating back to the 16th century that signals the return of military units back to base, takes place on the evening of the 29th January. The President of India oversees bands from the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force, accompany Central Armed Police Force and the Delhi Police on parade from Vijay Chowk
- Republic day footage and speeches from the President from the past 10 years can be viewed at this link.
Where can I watch it?
Tickets for the big event can be purchased from Coffee Home, the Delhi Tourism Development Corporation on Baba Kharag Singh Marg, DilliHaat on Aurobindo Marg (opposite INA), The Tourist Office at 88 Janpath and at Parliament House Reception Office.
Tickets shift quick and queues are big. If you are lucky enough to get tickets, remember that security will be super tight. Follow instructions carefully our you’ll not be allowed past the security cordons.
The other place to watch the celebrations is on the television from the comfort of your arm chair with some fresh pakora and chai.