Commonwealth Day [13th March 2023]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Nov 10, 2022, 16:07

Commonwealth Day is celebrated in honor of the Commonwealth of Nations, a political association of 56 member states. The Commonwealth is a collection of 56 sovereign countries united together for various common goals. These nations celebrate the existence of the Commonwealth each year on the Second Monday in March as Commonwealth Day.

Commonwealth Day was first celebrated in 1997. Each year a new theme is chosen to celebrate this day. Learn more about the history, significance and theme of this day here.

What is Commonwealth Day?

Commonwealth Day is an annual ceremony in which the King delivers a live broadcast address to the Commonwealth Nations, which are the 56 former-British territories. 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 His Majesty the King of England. He is still considered the ceremonial leader who presides over the Commonwealth nations. Here is a brief overview of Commonwealth Day:

Event Name

Commonwealth Day

Celebrated

In the Commonwealth Nations

Date

Second Monday in March

Aim

To remind the former British territories that they were an important part of the British empire.

Commonwealth Day Theme 2022

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 King of England.

The Commonwealth Day theme 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.

Previous Year’s Commonwealth Day Themes

As discussed above, a unique theme is announced for the celebration of Commonwealth Day each year. Here, we have shared the Commonwealth Day theme from the year 2010 to 2022:

Year

Commonwealth Day Theme

2010

Science, Technology and Society

2011

Women as Agents of Change

2012

Connecting Cultures

2013

Opportunity through Enterprise

2014

Team Commonwealth

2015

A Young Commonwealth

2016

An Inclusive Commonwealth

2017

A Peace-building Commonwealth

2018

Towards A Common Future

2019

A Connected Commonwealth

2020

Delivering a Common Future

2021

Delivering a Common Future

2022

Delivering a Common Future

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 but was still called "Empire Day" in 1925. However, 33 years later in 1958, the day was renamed Commonwealth Day.

Through the Commonwealth Day, the monarch of Britain, whose former territories make the Commonwealth of Nations, addresses these territories to signify their important role in history as part of the British Empire. This day is still observed by all member states of the Commonwealth.

Significance of Commonwealth Day

Commonwealth countries celebrate Commonwealth Day every year on the Second Monday in March. 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.

Commonwealth Day in India

In India, Commonwealth Day is observed on 24th May. In fact, many other countries observe this day on the same date as India. On this day, celebrations similar to that of the global Commonwealth Day are observed in India. Similarly, a theme is also set for the celebrations, which is similar to that of the actual global Commonwealth Day theme.

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 was celebrated by the then prime minister Harold Macmillan in 1958.
  • Commonwealth Day in the UK is usually celebrated at Westminster Abbey with the King of England in attendance. There is a sermon followed by an address by the King to the member Nations.
  • Commonwealth Day is celebrated individually in all the member states by raising flags, parades, and other festivities.

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FAQs on Commonwealth Day

Q1. When is Commonwealth Day celebrated?

Commonwealth Day is celebrated each year on the Second Monday in March by all the Commonwealth Nations (former territories of the British empire). However, India and some other countries celebrate the day on 24th May annually.

Q2. 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.

Q3. When was Commonwealth Day established?

Commonwealth was established in 1902, but back then, it was called "Empire Day. Finally, 33 years later, in 1958, it took on the name "Commonwealth Day." The official global celebration of Commonwealth Day started in the year 1977.

Q4. How many members are there in the Commonwealth?

There are 56 sovereign nations that are members of the Commonwealth of Nations. Most of these nations have a history of being ruled by the British Empire in the past. All these nations celebrate Commonwealth Day on the Second Monday in March.

Q5. Who addresses the member nations on Commonwealth Day?

His Majesty, the King of England, addresses the member nations on Commonwealth Day. He holds the designation as the ceremonial leader and presides over all commonwealth-related activities.