National Festivals

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3 National festivals

Independence Day

Independence Day, August 15, commemorates the day in 1947 when India achieved freedom from British rule. The day is celebrated to commemorate the birth of the world`s biggest democracy as a national festival.

Till Independence, there is no true national festival that the whole country could take part of. Independence Day, beginning as a day to commemorate the greatest moment in Indian history, has now come to signify a feeling of nationalism, solidarity and celebration.

Independence day is celebrated with flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural programs in the state capitals. The Prime Minister`s speech at the Red Fort in Delhi is the major highlight. All Government Organisations have a holiday, as 15th August is a National holiday. In the capital New Delhi most of the Government Offices are lit up. In all the cities around the country, the Flag Hoisting is done by eminent people.

August 15, Independence Day, is celebrated in a mood of abandon and joy - no rituals, just festivities. It is also a national holiday so educational institutions, private and government organizations remaining closed, after the official celebrations in the morning is over.

Schools and colleges mark the day with cultural activities, drills, flag hoisting and distribution of sweets. Government as well as private organizations celebrate it.

Republic Day

Republic Day is India`s great national festival. It is celebrated every year on January 26, in New Delhi with great pomp and pageant and in capitals of the States, as well as at other headquarters and important places with patriotic fervor.

A pledge was taken at the Lahore Session of the Indian National Congress at midnight of December 31, 1929 - January 1, 1930 by the nationalists. Tri-color flag was unfurled and they vowed that every year on January 26, the "Independence Day" would be celebrated and that the people would unceasingly strive for the establishment of a Sovereign Democratic Republic of India. The professed pledge was successfully redeemed on 26 January, 1950, when the Constitution of India framed by the Constituent Assembly of India came into force. Although, the Independence from the British rule was achieved on August 15, 1947.It is because of this, that August 15 is celebrated as Independence Day, while January 26 as Republic Day.

Republic Day reminds us of the fulfillment of the pledge that was made on the midnight of Independence as a "tryst with destiny". It is future-oriented, a vision of India that we nourish, an acceptance of responsibility and making of promises as well as recapitulation of the achievements. The act of framing the Constitution puts a spotlight on B.R. Ambedkar whose indefatigable labour and sharp insights helped the preparation of the document.

On Republic day, the pledge is renewed. Republic Day is without speeches. It is the only ceremony in which rhetoric is in the background and visuals are given priority. Republic Day is celebrated all over the country at all the administrative units like the capital cities, district headquarters, sub divisions, talukas, and panchayats. The major ceremonies at Delhi and the state capitals revolve around the parade in which all the Defence Services, police contingents, Home guards and Civil Defence, NCC, school children and cultural troupes participate followed by a display of tableaux and folk dances.

At Delhi, the most spectacular celebrations include the march past of the three Armed Forces, massive parades, folk dances by tribal folk from the different states in picturesque costumes marking the cultural unity of India. Further, the streak of jet planes of Indian Air Force, leaving a trial of coloured smoke, marks the end of the festival. The trees on both sides of the routes and the lawns become alive with spectators.

The day has acquired the status of a social celebration in which people participate whole-heartedly as spectators. Though, the...
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