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About Republic Day of India (26 January)

Republic Day (गणतंत्र दिवस)

When: 26 January

Makar Sankranti Festival

Indian Flag on Red Fort

Celebrating India Republic Day 2016

The Republic Day is celebrated in India on 26th January every year. The day marks the sovereignty of the country, as on this day in 1950 the Constitution of India was adopted. The signature celebration of the event is the Republic Day Parade, which is held in the capital city, New Delhi.

When is India Republic Day Celebrated?

Republic Day in India falls on January 26 every year.

What is the Meaning of Republic Day in India?

Republic Day marks India's adoption of a republic constitution on January 26, 1950, after gaining of independence from British rule in 1947. Understandably, this makes it an occasion that's close to the hearts of all Indians. Republic Day is one of three national holidays in India.

The other two are Independence Day (August 15) and Mahatma Gandhi's Birthday (October 2).

How is Republic Day Celebrated in India?

Makar Sankranti Festival

Rajpath New Delhi

Festivities take place on a grand scale in Delhi, India's capital. Traditionally, the highlight is the Republic Day Parade. It features contingents and displays from the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

The parade also includes colorful floats from each of India's states. Smaller parades are held in each state as well.

Before the parade starts, the Prime Minister of India places a floral wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial at India Gate, in memory of those soldiers who lost their lives in war. This is followed by two minutes silence.

Indians love a good party, so many people and housing societies organize individual celebrations. These often consist of fairs and talent contests. Patriotic songs are played through loud speakers all day.

The Republic Day Parade is followed up with a Beating the Retreat ceremony on January 29.

It features performances by bands of the three wings of the Indian military -- the Army, Navy and Air Force.

The Republic Day Chief Guest

As a symbolic gesture, the Indian government invites a chief guest to attend official Republic Day celebrations in Delhi. The guest is always a head of state or government from a country that's selected based on strategic, economic and political interests.

The inaugural chief guest, in 1950, was Indonesian President Sukarno.

In 2015, US President Barack Obama became the first US President to be the chief guest at Republic Day. The invitation reflected closer relations between India and the US, and an era of "new trust" between the two countries.

France has been invited to attend Republic Day celebrations for the fifth time in 2016. India is said to be keen to host the French President because France has emerged as a key strategic partner on defense and nuclear issues. Enhancing counter-terrorism cooperation with France will also be on the agenda.

Interesting Facts About Republic Day

  • Doctor Rajendra Prasad was elected as the first President of India on Republic Day in 1950. Prior to this, India's head of state was an appointed Governor-General.
  • Although the first Republic Day Parade was held in 1950, Rajpath (earlier known as Kingsway) didn't become the parade's permanent venue until 1955. Before then, the parade was held at Irwin Stadium (now National Stadium), the Red Fort, and the Ramlila grounds.
  • The "Royal" prefix was dropped from the Indian Air Force on Republic Day in 1950. More than 100 aircraft participated in the first parade. Nowadays, the number has decreased to just over 30.
  • India adopted its national animal, the lion head from the Ashoka Pillar in Sarnath, on Republic Day in 1950. The peacock was subsequently declared as the national bird on Republic Day in 1963.

Republic Day is a "Dry Day"

Those who'd like to have an alcoholic toast to celebrate Republic Day should note that it's a dry day across India. This means that shops and bars, except for those in five star hotels, won't be selling alcohol. It's usually still readily available in Goa though.

Highlights of 2015

Makar Sankranti Festival

First time women in prade

The year 2015 saw the US President Barack Obama as the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations. It was Obama's second visit to India, which made him the first US President to visit the country twice during his presidential tenure. It was also the first time when India had received an American President as a chief guest on 26 January. Obama's wife, Michelle Obama and some other senior officials from the US also accompanied him during this visit.

The grand Republic Day parade this year was attended by about 1.25 lakh people. 25 tableaux - 16 from different states and nine from several ministries were showcased in the parade. "Women Empowerment" was the theme of the 66th Republic Day celebrations and it was the first time that all-women's contingents from the three services - Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force marched in the parade.

Significance of Republic Day

The Republic Day is celebrated as the day when India became a sovereign, secular and democratic republic. It was on 26 January 1950 that the Constitution of India was brought into force as the governing document of India that replaced the Government of India Act 1935.

The day also has significance as the declaration of Indian independence (Purna Swaraj) was proclaimed by the Indian National Congress on 26 January 1930. It was on this day in the year 1965 that Hindi was declared as the official language of the country.

Republic Day Date and Timing

The Republic Day 2016 will be celebrated on 26 January. This day will be observed as a national holiday. All the national, state and local government offices, banks, post offices, schools, stores and other organizations will remain closed to celebrate the spirit of patriotism on this day. Public Transport will remain unaffected but the traffic will get disrupted due to Republic Day parades. Increased security can be seen in multiple areas within New Delhi on the Republic Day of India.

Republic Day Celebrations

The entire nation comes alive with patriotic fervour on this day, but the principal celebration of the Republic Day takes place in the national capital, New Delhi from 9 a.m. and continues for about three hours. This historic occasion becomes a national festival with the involvement of people from all over the country. The day symbolises the unity of the nation as it brings together people from different castes, creed, religions and regions to celebrate the day with the pride of being an Indian.

The celebration takes place at the Rajpath with great enthusiasm and pride, which can be experienced by any individual as the Republic Day Parade is a ticketed event. The tickets for the same can be bought a couple of weeks before the event.

Highlights of 2016 Republic Day Celebrations

  • French President Francois Hollande will be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day Parade on January 26, 2016.
  • The Republic Day Parade will be shorter by at least 15 minutes. Government is planning to hold a 90-minute parade instead of the nearly two hours one. This is done to cut down the number of marching contigents in addition to clubbing together the mechanised ones. The tableaux would also be held for less time.
  • The Action Plan for Start Up India, Stand Up India will be launched for introducing multiple opportunities for the youth of India. Cleanliness in surrounding areas and for statues of great personalities would also be ensured.
  • The topic "our duties" will be discussed in schools, colleges and other places.
  • Beating the Retreat would have Indian music infused with martial tunes.
  • All tableaux and music bands will be showcased for three days - till January 29 at the Red Fort to allow more people to participate.
  • Number of Army's marching contigents will be reduced from 8 to 6.
  • Number of Navy's marching contigents will be reduced from 3 to 2.
  • The Air Force will be putting up a single marching contigent.
  • Six central para-military forces will be putting up 3 marching contigents instead of one contigent individually.
  • The Indian Navy will showcase "Make in India" and hence put up models of the indigenously made aircraft carrier INS Vikrant along with the indigenously made submarine INS Kalvari.

Republic Day celebrations across the country

Apart from the grand celebrations in the capital, the Republic Day is also celebrated in different parts of the country at different levels, such as in cities, district headquarters, panchayats, schools and offices.

  • In Mumbai, people attend Republic Day Parade at Shivaji Park in Central Mumbai.
  • In Bangalore, people celebrate Republic Day at the Field Marshal Manekshaw Parade Ground, which holds a parade and cultural fair.
  • In Kolkata, people enjoy the Republic Day parade held along the Red Road near the Maidan.
  • In Chennai, Republic Day celebrations take place at Marina Beach and Kamaraj Salai.
Makar Sankranti Festival

Republic Day 2016 Greetings

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