Commonwealth Day 2023 is a movable holiday that occurs annually on the second Monday of March; this year, it falls on March 13. The day is commemorated with a service at Westminster Abbey attended by the British royal family, as well as widespread celebrations in Commonwealth nations! In some of its regions, a public holiday commemorates the historical significance of the event. It promotes a peaceful global environment and aims to inspire Commonwealth nations for the future through an annual address by Queen Elizabeth.
The background of Commonwealth Day
Although Commonwealth Day is now a well-established holiday celebrated by an estimated 2 billion people around the globe, it wasn’t always known by that name and had a more modest beginning. Originally known as “Empire Day,” it was created to commemorate Queen Victoria in 1902. After Queen Victoria’s death the previous year, it was proposed to create a holiday that would honour England, the Commonwealth, and its ideals of freedom, tolerance, and justice.
Empire Day was unofficially commemorated in Canada for fourteen years prior to its official recognition in 1916. In 1925, a commemoration of Empire Day Thanksgiving at Wembley Stadium attracted approximately 90,000 people.
In 1958, then-Prime Minister Harold MacMillan changed the name of Empire Day to Commonwealth Day. This is due to the fact that the entire Commonwealth shares a common past, legal system, culture, and more. The second Monday in March was chosen by the Commonwealth Secretariat in response to a 1973 proposal from the Royal Commonwealth Society.
In the postcolonial world of today, morality of the Commonwealth is the subject of much debate. While some countries continue to view it as a significant and honourable piece of history and others continue to designate the Queen of England as their monarch, the question of whether or not it is a problematic holiday is gaining increasing attention. Many Commonwealth nations were, at one time or another, prevented from achieving independence, and some view this as a reminder of brutal colonialism.
Despite this, many nations still commemorate Commonwealth Day with great fervour. Commonwealth Day is a public holiday in a number of Commonwealth nations, with the exception of the United Kingdom. There are parties and other celebrations, good food is prepared, and flags are raised. On Commonwealth Day, many tune in to watch the service at Westminster Abbey, hear the Queen’s address, and experience immense pride in the Commonwealth’s historic alliance.
5 FUN FACTS ABOUT COMMONWEALTH DAY
The Commonwealth of nations consists of 53 nations, but only 16 still recognise the British monarchy.
About 2 billion individuals celebrate Commonwealth Day, or roughly one-third of the world’s population.
Despite the fact that it honours the British Empire and all of its constituent states, it is not a British public holiday! However, other Commonwealth entities, such as Gibraltar, recognise it as such.
Today, many are reconsidering Britain’s colonial and imperial past, and a new understanding of the Commonwealth states and Commonwealth Day is gaining ground. There is currently an emphasis on the moral evaluation of the holiday.
The Commonwealth’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) exceeds that of the European Union (EU) and is expected to grow.
COMMONWEALTH DAY DATES