Commonwealth Day is observed on different dates across the world. UK, Australia and Canada celebrate the day on the second Monday of March. In India, along with countries like Belize celebrate Commonwealth Day on May 24. This day is celebrated by all the countries that were once under the reign of the British Empire.
Commonwealth Day is celebrated on the birth date of Queen Victoria, who was born on May 24, 1819. This is not a statutory holiday and it is on the specific country to decide whether a holiday will be observed or not. It is a public holiday in Gibraltar.
Earlier Commonwealth Day was known as Empire Day, as a celebration of the birth of Queen Victoria after 1916. Lord Meath in the year 1916 extended the celebration of Empire Day to all the countries of the Commonwealth.
In the year 1958, Prime Minister of United Kingdom (UK), Harold Macmillan had announced within the Parliament that Empire day are going to be renamed as Empire day. The Commonwealth has had a shared history with Britain, along with some cultural links, common legal systems and also business processes. The Commonwealth Secretariat then selected the second Monday of March will be observed as Commonwealth Day, throughout all countries of Commonwealth.
Commonwealth Day’s significance is of “being a symbol of unity of feeling” to those ideals of freedom, justice and tolerance that British Empire throughout the world”, as given in a piece of writing dated on 1916. The ideals of the day, when it was celebrated as Empire day, also included reminding all the children that they formed a part of British Empire. The children must also think like the ones who live on other lands. They must also know what it is like to be the sons and daughters of the Empire.
There’s a different theme of the Empire day each year and therefore the day is celebrated to honour and inculcate this theme within the UK and rest of the world.
The theme of 2019 was ‘A Connected Commonwealth’.
The theme of Commonwealth Day 2020 is ‘Delivering a Common Future‘.
Source- Wikipedia and RepublicWorld
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