Republic Day honors the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect on 26 January 1950 replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India.
The Constitution was adopted by the Indian Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, and came into effect on 26 January 1950 with a democratic government system, completing the country’s transition towards becoming an independent republic. 26 January was chosen as the Republic day because it was on this day in 1930 when Declaration of Indian Independence (Purna Swaraj) was proclaimed by the Indian National Congress as opposed to the Dominion status offered by British Regime.
Much effort is put towards organizing events and celebrations that occur on Republic Day in India. Large military parades are held in New Delhi and the state capitals. Representatives of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force and traditional dance troupes take part in the parades.
A grand parade is held in New Delhi and the event starts with India’s prime minister laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate, to remember soldiers who sacrificed their lives for their country. India’s president takes the military salute during the parade in New Delhi while state governors take the military salutes in state capitals. A foreign head of state is the president’s chief guest on Republic Day.
Awards and medals of bravery are given to the people from the armed forces and also to civilians. Helicopters from the armed forces then fly past the parade area showering rose petals on the audience. School children also participate in the parade by dancing and singing patriotic songs. Armed Forces personnel also showcase motorcycle rides. The parade concludes with a “fly past” by the Indian Air Force, which involves fighter planes of flying past the dais, symbolically saluting the president. These leave trails of smoke in the colors of the Indian flag.
There are many national and local cultural programs focusing on the history and culture of India. Children have a special place in these programs. Many children receive gifts of sweets or small toys. A prime minister’s rally also takes place around this time of the year, as well as the Lok Tarang – National Folk Dance Festival, which occurs annually from January 24-29.
Every institution or organization such as buildings, schools, offices, hospitals etc host flags in their respective premises. All the participants put up entertaining and patriotic performances and speeches. They all dress up in the colours of the flag including white, saffron, green and blue, spend time together and share snacks. This day brings out many emotions and unites everyone as residents of this beautiful country India.