India Republic Day

India Republic Day

January 26
This holiday is an important national festival in India celebrating the day in 1950 when India's ties with Britain were severed and the country became a fully independent republic. The holiday is marked with parades and much celebration in all the state capitals, but the celebration in Delhi is especially grand. There is a mammoth parade with military units, floats from each state, dancers and musicians, and fly-overs. The festivities in Delhi actually last for about a week, with special events of all sorts in auditoriums and hotels. Special festivities took place during the year 2000, when India celebrated its 50th anniversary as an independent republic.
England's Queen Victoria had been proclaimed Empress of India in 1877, and it wasn't until 1947 that India won its long fight for freedom. The India Independence Act was passed by the British Parliament in July 1947, and by August 15 the Muslim nation of Pakistan and the Hindu nation of India had become independent dominions. Lord Mountbatten served as governor-general during the transition period. When a new constitution came into effect in 1950 his governor-generalship ended, and India stood fully independent. Independence Day on Aug. 15 is also a national holiday, but is observed chiefly with speech-making and none of the grandeur of Republic Day.
CONTACTS:
Embassy of India
2107 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
202-939-7000; fax: 202-265-4351
www.indianembassy.org
SOURCES:
AnnivHol-2000, pp. 15, 136
GdWrldFest-1985, p. 111
IntlThFolk-1979, p. 205
NatlHolWrld-1968, p. 18
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