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National Day Parade Essay

This article is about celebrations of nationhood. For holidays with names like "National Item Day", see List of commemorative days.

A national day is a designated date on which celebrations mark the nationhood of a nation or non-sovereign country. This nationhood can be symbolized by the date of independence, of becoming a republic or a significant date for a patron saint or a ruler (birthday, accession, removal, etc.). Often the day is not called "National Day" but serves and can be considered as one. The national day will often be a national holiday. Many countries have more than one national day.

Most countries have a fixed-date national day, but some have movable dates. An example is Jamaica, which up to 1997 celebrated its national day on the first Monday in August. This commemorated independence from the United Kingdom which was attained on Monday, 6 August 1962, the first Monday in August of that year. Israel's Independence Day is not fixed relative to the civil Gregorian calendar, being formally linked to 5 Iyar on the Jewish calendar, but may also be moved to any day between 3 and 6 Iyar in order to avoid preparing for or celebrating either Independence Day or Memorial Day (which immediately precedes Independence Day) on Shabbat; the practical effect of this is that Independence Day may be celebrated any day between 15 April and 15 May. Another example is Thailand which celebrates the birthday of the king on 28 July. This date will change on the accession of the heir to the throne.

Most national days can be categorized in two large blocks:[citation needed]

  • Newer countries that celebrate their national day as the day of their independence.
  • Older countries that use some other event of special significance as their national day.

Denmark and the United Kingdom are among the few countries that do not have designated national days.


Importance attached to the national day as well as the degree to which it is celebrated vary greatly from country to country. For example, Spain's national day Fiesta Nacional de España is held on 12 October, the day celebrated in other countries as Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, and commemorates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas.[1] A military parade is held in Madrid celebrating the occasion.[1] The national day in France is 14 July and known as the Fête nationale (known in English-speaking countries as Bastille Day) commemorating the Storming of the Bastille,[2] which is considered the start of the French Revolution.[3] It is widely celebrated and the French Tricolour is much in evidence, while the President of the Republic attends a military parade on the Champs-Élysées of Paris. In the United States, the Independence Day celebrations on 4 July are widely celebrated with parades, fireworks, picnics and barbecues. In Ireland, Saint Patrick's Day, 17 March, is the equivalent of a national day and has been a public holiday for many years. However, in the United Kingdom the constituent countries' patron saints' days are low-key affairs. In recent times campaigns have commenced to promote the national days of England, Scotland and Wales, with St. Andrew's Day being designated as an official bank holiday when the Scottish Parliament passed the St Andrew's Day Bank Holiday (Scotland) Act 2007. A National Day for the United Kingdom has also been proposed in recent years.

As with the Bastille Day military parade in France, many other countries have a National Day Parade. Examples include the Singapore National Day Parade, and the parade for the National Day of the People's Republic of China.

List of national days[edit]

See also: List of national independence days

Regions that are not broadly recognized sovereign states are shown in pink. For regions controlled by sovereign states (such as federal states, autonomous regions, or colonies), the name of the sovereign state is shown in parentheses.

Days that are not fixed to the Gregorian calendar are sorted by their 2017 occurrences.

NationDateNational day
 Afghanistan19 AugustIndependence from United Kingdom control over Afghan foreign affairs in 1919. (see Afghan Independence Day)
 Albania28 Novembersee Albanian Flag Day
 Alderney (British Islands)15 DecemberHomecoming Day, the return of the Islanders after the end of the German occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II 1945
 Algeria1 NovemberStart of the War of Independence in 1954
 American Samoa (United States)17 AprilUSFlag Day
 Andorra8 SeptemberOur Lady of Meritxell Day, patron saint of Andorra
 Angola11 NovemberIndependence from Portugal in 1975
 Anguilla (United Kingdom)30 MayAnguilla Day; the beginning of the Anguillian Revolution in 1967
 Antigua and Barbuda1 NovemberIndependence from the United Kingdom in 1981
 Argentina25 MayFirst Patriotic Government, the Spanish viceroy is removed and replaced by the Primera Junta during the May Revolution
 Argentina9 JulyDeclaration of Independence, from Spain in 1816
 Armenia28 MayRepublic Day, independence from the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic 1918
 Armenia21 SeptemberIndependence from the Soviet Union recognised in 1991
 Aruba (Kingdom of the Netherlands)18 MarchFlag Day; adoption of the flag in 1976
 Ascension (United Kingdom)2nd Saturday in June
 Australia26 JanuaryAustralia Day, date of the founding of Sydney, the first European settlement in Australia, 1788
 Austria26 OctoberThe Neutrality Constitution of 1955
 Azerbaijan28 MayRepublic Day, independence from the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic 1918
 AzoresPentecost MondayAzores Day, gaining authonomy from Portugal in 1976.
 Bahamas10 JulyIndependence from the United Kingdom in 1973
 Bahrain16 DecemberAccession Day of Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the first Emir of Bahrain
 Bangladesh26 MarchIndependence Day, declaration of independence from Pakistan in 1971
 Bangladesh16 DecemberVictory Day, the day the Bangladesh Liberation War ended in 1971
 Barbados30 NovemberIndependence Day, from the United Kingdom in 1966
 Belarus3 JulyIndependence Day, liberation of Minsk from German occupation by Soviet troops in 1944
 Belgium21 JulyLeopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld takes the oath as the first King of the Belgians in 1831
 Belize10 SeptemberThe Battle of St. George's Caye Day commemorates the battle that occurred in 1798.[4]
 Belize21 SeptemberIndependence from the United Kingdom in 1981
 Benin1 AugustIndependence from France in 1960
 Bermuda (United Kingdom)24 MayOriginally Queen Victoria's birthday; now "Bermuda Day" to celebrate the islands' heritage and culture
 Bhutan17 DecemberUgyen Wangchuck elected hereditary king in 1907
 Bolivia6 AugustProclamation of Republic (independent from Spain) in 1825
 Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia and Herzegovina)1 MarchDan nezavisnosti; Proclamation of independence from Yugoslavia in 1992
 Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia and Herzegovina)25 NovemberStatehood Day, formation of the State Anti-fascist Council for the National Liberation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1943
 Botswana30 SeptemberIndependence from the United Kingdom in 1966
 Brazil7 SeptemberDia da Independência, declaration of independence from Portugal in 1822
 British Virgin Islands (United Kingdom)1 July
 Brunei23 FebruaryNational Day, celebrating independence from the United Kingdom on 1984, which actually occurred on 1 January
 Bulgaria3 MarchLiberation Day, autonomy within Ottoman Empire 1878
 Burkina Faso4 AugustChange of name from Upper Volta in 1984
 Burkina Faso5 AugustIndependence Day, from France in 1960
 Burundi1 JulyIndependence from Belgium in 1962
 Cambodia9 NovemberIndependence from France in 1953
 Cameroon20 MayNational Day, creation of a unitary state in 1972
 Canada1 JulyCanada Day, creation of a federal Canada from three British Dominions in 1867
 Catalonia (Spain)11 SeptemberNational Day, commemorates the fall of Barcelona during the War of the Spanish Succession in 1714 and the subsequent loss of Catalan liberties and institutions
 Cape Verde12 September
 Cayman Islands (United Kingdom)1st Monday in July
 Central African Republic1 DecemberMade an autonomous territory within the French Community in 1958
 Chad11 AugustIndependence from France in 1960
 Chile18 SeptemberThe first Government Junta is created in 1810
People's Republic of China1 OctoberNational Day of the People's Republic of China (Proclamation of the People's Republic of China in 1949)
Republic of China1 JanuaryFounding Day of the Republic of China, establishment of the Provisional Government in 1912
Republic of China10 OctoberDouble Ten Day commemorating the 1911 Wuchang Uprising that led to abolishment of the monarchy and founding of the Republic in China in 1911
 Colombia20 JulyDeclaration of independence from Spain in 1810
 Comoros6 JulyIndependence from France in 1975
Democratic Republic of the Congo30 JuneIndependence from Belgium in 1960
Republic of the Congo15 AugustIndependence from France in 1960
 Cook Islands4 AugustSelf-government in free association with New Zealand in 1965
 Costa Rica15 SeptemberIndependence from the Kingdom of Spain in 1821
 Croatia25 JuneStatehood Day, declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991
 Cuba1 JanuaryLiberation Day, Fidel Castro takes power in 1959
 Curaçao (Kingdom of the Netherlands)2 JulyThe first elected island council is instituted in 1954
 Cyprus1 OctoberIndependence from the United Kingdom in 1960
 Czech Republic28 OctoberIndependence from Austria-Hungary (as Czechoslovakia) in 1918
 Czech Republic28 SeptemberCzech Statehood day (Saint Wenceslas day)
 Côte d'Ivoire7 AugustIndependence from France in 1960
 Denmark5 June(No official National Day; adoption of the Constitution of 1849)
 Djibouti27 JuneIndependence from France in 1977
 Dominica3 NovemberIndependence from the United Kingdom in 1978 and discovery by Christopher Columbus in 1493
 Dominican Republic27 FebruaryIndependence from Haiti in 1844
 East Timor20 MayIndependence from Indonesia in 2002
 Ecuador10 AugustProclamation of independence from Spain in 1809
 Egypt23 JulyRevolution Day, the revolution of 1952
 Egypt6 OctoberArmed Forces Day, the beginning of the October War in 1973
 El Salvador15 SeptemberIndependence from the Kingdom of Spain in 1821
 England (United Kingdom)23 AprilDay of St. George, patron saint of England. Sometimes proposed as National Day.
 Equatorial Guinea12 OctoberIndependence from Spain in 1968
 Eritrea24 MayEritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) fighters enter Asmara in 1991 and Eritrea becomes a de facto independent state; United Nations recognizes Eritrea's independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a UN-supervised referendum on nationhood.
 Estonia24 FebruaryIndependence Day, declaration of independence from Russia in 1918
 Ethiopia28 MayDownfall of the Derg Day, the Derg regime is defeated in 1991
 Falkland Islands (United Kingdom)14 AugustFalklands Day, First recorded sighting of the islands.
 Falkland Islands (United Kingdom)14 JuneLiberation Day, Liberation from Argentina at the end of the Falklands War in 1982
 Faroe Islands (Denmark)29 JulyÓlavsøka (Saint Olaf's death at the Battle of Stiklestad in 1030): opening of the Løgting (parliament) session
 Fiji10 OctoberFiji Day, independence from the United Kingdom in 1970
 Finland6 DecemberIndependence Day, declaration of independence from Russia in 1917
 Florida (United States)2 AprilPascua Florida is day or week (as declared by the Governor) celebrating the founding of Florida by Juan Ponce de León on April 2, 1513.
 France14 JulyBastille Day, 14 July 1789.[5]
 French Guiana (France)20 DecemberAbolition of slavery day
 French Polynesia (France)29 JuneInternal Autonomy day
 Gabon17 AugustIndependence from France in 1960
 Gambia18 FebruaryIndependence from the United Kingdom in 1965
 Georgia26 MayDay of First Republic, declaration of independence from Russia in 1918
 Germany3 OctoberGerman Unity Day, unification of West Germany and East Germany in 1990
 Ghana6 MarchIndependence from the United Kingdom in 1957
 Gibraltar (United Kingdom)10 SeptemberGibraltar National Day, people of Gibraltar vote to reject Spanish sovereignty or association in 1967
 Greece25 MarchStart of the Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Empire in 1821
 Greece28 OctoberOhi Day, rejection of the Italian ultimatum of 1940
 Greenland (Denmark)21 June(Longest Day of the Year) The National Day was introduced in 1983 as one of the Home Rule's traditions and is thus one of several expressions of national identity
 Grenada7 FebruaryIndependence from United Kingdom in 1974
 Guadeloupe (France)27 Mayabolition of slavery day
 Guam (United States)21 JulyLiberation Day, American landing on Guam 1944, the beginning of the Battle of Guam
 Guatemala15 SeptemberIndependence from the Kingdom of Spain in 1821
 Guernsey (British Islands)9 MayLiberation Day, the end of the German occupation of the Channel Islands in 1945
 Guinea2 OctoberIndependence from France in 1958
 Guinea-Bissau24 SeptemberDeclaration of independence from Portugal in 1973
 Guyana23 FebruaryMashramani, declaration of the Republic in 1970
 Haiti1 JanuaryDeclaration of independence from France in 1804
 Herm (British Islands)9 MayLiberation Day, the end of the German occupation of the Channel Islands in 1945
 Honduras15 SeptemberIndependence from the Kingdom of Spain in 1821
 Hong Kong (China)1 JulyTransfer of sovereignty to the PRC in 1997
 Hungary15 March1848 Revolution memorial day
 Hungary20 AugustSt. Stephen's day
 Hungary23 October1956 Revolution memorial day
 Iceland17 JuneNational Day, founding of the Republic and dissolution of the personal union with Denmark in 1944
 India26 JanuaryRepublic Day, adoption of the
On Sveriges nationaldag in Sweden the King and Queen (in national costume) celebrate Sweden's independence each year on the 6th of June.
Map with reasons for national days

Leah Meixner and her father watch an Indedpendence Day parade in Anchorage, Alaska
.(© AP Images)

U.S. Independence Day a Civic and Social Event
By Michael Jay Friedman., June 22, 2010.
The United States celebrates its Independence Day on July 4, a day of patriotic celebration and family events throughout the country. In the words of Founding Father John Adams, the holiday is "the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, …. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."
The holiday is a major civic occasion, with roots deep in the Anglo-American tradition of political freedom...

Fourth of July Music Reflects U.S. History, Diversity
By Lauren Monsen., June 30, 2008.
The patriotic songs that have become staples of U.S. Independence Day celebrations reflect the nation's history and the contributions of immigrants to the country's diverse culture.
At its July 4th concerts, the Marine Corps Band includes 'music that represents the full spectrum' of U.S. songwriting talent, said Master Gunnery Sergeant Mike Ressler of the Marine Corps Band Library. [...] For Americans, strains of John Philip Sousa's 'The Stars and Stripes Forever' or George M. Cohan's 'Yankee Doodle Dandy' evoke July 4 memories. 'The Star-Spangled Banner' (written in 1814 by lawyer/poet Francis Scott Key and declared the national anthem in 1931) is invariably played on Independence Day... .

Making Sense of the Fourth of July
This article discusses the history of the Fourth of July, which celebrates the Declaration of Independence rather than the actual independence from Britain, and how the Declaration came to usurp a role that Americans normally delegated to bills of rights. (Washington File, 07 August 1997. Reprinted from American Heritage, August 7, 1997)

Celebrating the Fourth of July
There once was a time in America when the year was marked by two eagerly awaited high festivals -- Christmas and Independence Day. Asked to pick which was best, even children might have chosen the Fourth. From country to city it was a day of fluttering flags, passionate emotions, and bombastic pleasures commemorating a freedom so recently won it was not yet taken for granted. (Washington File, 01 August 1998. Reprinted courtesy of Early American Homes Magazine)