India Republic Day
Republic day is celebrated on the 26th of January annually. On 26th January 1950, the Constitution of India was officially enforced in India. Republic day is celebrated annually as it is the anniversary of the day India became an independent republic. Each year, the 26th of January is the day where every Indian celebrates patriotism and nationalism inside their heart with full enthusiasm and joy. This is the day where all religions, states, languages unite to be known as one nation “India”. India celebrates this holiday with a magnificent parade show which signifies the importance of the military, religions, and cultures of the country. It is a national holiday in India where people take time off their busy schedules and celebrates the love they have for their Nation.
History of Republic Day in India
India got its freedom on 15th August 1947 after 200 years after the British empire left India. After years of struggle and efforts, India became a free country under the leadership of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (also known as the father of the nation) and pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. 15th August is celebrated each year as an Independence Day of India. After becoming an independent country, India required guidance, a written set of rules and regulations which can run the country smoothly without interference from any other nations. Independence itself did not give any right to the citizens to elect their government or freedom. Since India didn’t have any constitution or laws to guide them, India was a constitutional monarchy under the leadership of King George VI even after Independence. It was after 2 years 11 months and 18 days later that India got its constitution which entitled India to become one of the biggest democratic countries in the world.
More than 2000 amendments took place before the first draft of the constitution of India was finalized. Constitution of India is the longest Constitution in the entire world with 448 Articles and 12 schedules. Constitution of India lays down a broad framework of the political code, powers, structure, and duties of all the Government entities. It states various fundamental rights of the people in India as well as separates power of three main branches i.e Legislative power to congress, executive power to President and judicial power to the courts. In the honor of enforcement of the constitution of India, this day is celebrated with huge celebrations across the country as a Republic Day.
How locals celebrate Republic day
Republic day is celebrated across all the 29 states and 11 union territories in India with a full sense of patriotism and nationalism. On this day, flag hoisting ceremonies and parades by armed forces and school children are held in different parts of the country. Out of all the parades across the nation, the grandest and most important parade takes place at Rajpath in New Delhi, which showcases the rich cultures, diversity and defense power of India. Each year the president or the prime minister from other nations come as a chief guest to witness this show along with all the national and domestic leaders of India. People from all around the world also come to witness India’s specialty of different states, regions, cultures, dance, stunts, defense power, and most importantly air show.
The parade starts after the Prime Minister of India lays a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate, to pay tribute to the soldiers who have sacrificed their lives for the country. After this, the show starts with 21gun salute, unfurling of the national flag and national anthem. Awards such as Paramvir Chakra, Ashok Chakra, and Vir Chakra are given to gallantry award winners in front of the world.
The parade starts with all the gallantry award winners saluting the president of India in open military jeep, followed by a display of several tanks, missiles and other military equipment that is added to the Indian Army. Thereafter, military forces including only women military force (empowering women) march together and pass salute to the president and prime minister of India. The parade is followed by regional dances, patriotic songs, and military bike shows. Various Indian states are represented in the parade by floats that highlight their unique cultures, festivals, historic events, the environment, architect, and visions of the future. The most awaited part of the entire show is in the end where Air force presents their power through jets, helicopters flying right above the India gate.
People at home can still witness the entire show on their television as it is telecasted across national channels. Locals also visit different historical or public places to witness the hoisting of Indian Flag and speeches from several leaders. People offer sweets and traditional Indian snacks to each other on the occasion of republic day every year.
Republic day is generally over in the morning itself after that locals enjoy the rest of their day by going to public parks for picnics, movies, road trips, etc. The republic day is four-day-long celebrations as the main event is followed by a beating the retreat ceremony on 29th January. It represents retreat after a day on the battlefield and features performances of bands of the three wings of Indian Military- Army, Navy, and Airforce.
Advice from the Locals
To witness the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, you need to purchase tickets which are quite cheap but sometimes become difficult to find. Tickets go on sale a few weeks before the event and are available on several tourist places, metro stations, Government offices, etc. There is also a special military public tour to see the republic day parade and tour to various tourist attractions (including Taj Mahal tour). You can also witness republic day parade in other major cities as well such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, etc. but I would recommend visiting New Delhi to have a magnificent view of Indian culture and traditions in one go. It is also recommended to drive or walk through the India gate area where parliament, India gate and other government entities are enlightened with lights and decorations.
Tips for Visiting India's Republic Day Festivities
Mobile phones, cameras, and all other electronic devices (Including remote car keys) are not allowed inside the venue so leave them behind. There is a very strict security check therefore it is recommended to reach the venue 2-3 hours before the event begins to avoid long security lines. Try to purchase reserved tickets as you will find a seat near the main stage and parking spot. All gates are closed before the event starts and it is difficult to find parking spots, therefore, try to take public transport and do not hesitate to walk. Morning can be very cold in the winter, therefore, carry warm clothes with you.
My Story and the Local Experience
I witnessed this magnificent event in 2019. I have watched this event only live on the television before. This was the first time I went to the venue to witness the show. It might get difficult to reach the event as few roads are blocked and you might have to walk a lot. But as soon as I got there, I heard everyone in full passion and joy of nationalism to celebrate republic day. I reserved my seats two weeks before the event and got an amazing seat right next to the main stage.
The show gives you a captivating look at what India is capable of and how rich it is when it comes to religions and languages. This is an event that will take you around India in one place. The Air show gave me goosebumps as several jets flew over me and formed shapes in the air. People were hooked together for a whole three hours of shows as this is the day where the whole of India is united in one place. This event gave me a lifetime experience that I will never forget.