The Commonwealth is a collection of 54 sovereign countries united together for various common goals. The existence of the Commonwealth is celebrated by these nations each year on 24th May as Commonwealth Day. The Primary Objectives of the Commonwealth are to -
- Share the goals of member states like trade and economy.
- Develop societies in gender education, health, and sports.
- Support each other in economic matters.
- Protect the environment.
Although each member of the Commonwealth is a sovereign, independent state, the head of the Commonwealth is Her Majesty the Queen of England. She is considered the ceremonial leader who presides over the Commonwealth nations.
Commonwealth Day History
The name "Commonwealth Day" began as "Empire Day" and was first observed in 1902 in memory of Queen Victoria, who died the previous year. However, Commonwealth Day did not gain any official recognition until 1916, although Canada had officially celebrated it since its inception.
It was only ten years later that it became a popular event still called "Empire Day" in 1925, and it became Commonwealth Day 33 years later in 1958.
Significance of Commonwealth Day
Commonwealth countries celebrate Commonwealth Day every year on the 24th of May. This day's significance is for all Commonwealth members to unilaterally reiterate their commitment to equality, peace, and democracy of all the members of this organization.
In a word, we can say that Commonwealth Day is celebrated in a bid to promote humanity and solidarity. It is an opportunity for all members to address their problems, find solutions, and support each other.
The Theme of Commonwealth Day
Every year a theme is set for Commonwealth Day. The activities of Commonwealth organizations will revolve around that particular theme. Representatives from Commonwealth countries get together and discuss and decide on a theme agreed upon by the Queen of England.
For example, the Commonwealth theme for 2022 was "Delivering a Common Future". The different member states discussed and planned ways and means of innovating, connecting, and transforming to achieve common goals such as reducing global warming, fighting climate change, and improving economic understanding between nations.
☛ Also Read: Current Affairs Today
Interesting Facts About Commonwealth Day
- This year, 2022, was the Jubilee year for Queen Elizabeth II; therefore, on Commonwealth Day, there was a special focus on how service plays a special role in people's lives.
- The first official Commonwealth Day under the name that we know, today was celebrated by the then prime minister Harold Macmillan in 1958.
- Commonwealth Day in the UK is usually celebrated at Westminster Abbey with Her Majesty the Queen of England in attendance. There is a sermon followed by an address by the Queen to the member Nations.
- Commonwealth Day is celebrated individually in all the member states by raising flags, parades, and other festivities.
FAQs on Commonwealth Day
Q1: Why is Commonwealth Day celebrated?
Commonwealth Day is celebrated on 24th May to reiterate solidarity between member nations, address problems and issues between Commonwealth nations, and identify solutions with the support of each other.
Q2: When was Commonwealth Day established?
Commonwealth was established in 1902, but it was called "Empire Day and 33 years later, in 1958, it took on the name "Commonwealth Day."
Q3: As of the latest Commonwealth day, how many members are there in the Commonwealth?
As of the latest Commonwealth Day, 54 sovereign nations are members of the Commonwealth. Most of these nations have a history of being ruled by the British Empire in the past.
Q4: What is the official event where Commonwealth nations meet on Commonwealth Day?
The official event where Commonwealth nations meet on Commonwealth Day is The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
Q5: Who addresses the member nations on Commonwealth Day?
Her Majesty, the Queen of England, addresses the member nations on Commonwealth Day. She holds the designation as the ceremonial leader and presides over all commonwealth-related activities.