For the past few years, we’ve seen many Akshay Kumar action films release on this important national holiday like “Airlift” and “Baby.” However, this film-filled holiday is not about Akshay Kumar’s action flicks or patriotic film marathons on television.
Republic Day is celebrated as the day India’s constitution came into effect in 1950. Although India became an independent dominion in the British Commonwealth of Nations after the end of the war, King George VI was still India’s head of state. When the constitution came into effect, India was officially a democratic republic.
Why was January 26 the date selected? Let me drop some knowledge on y’all. During the fight for independence from England, the date was selected at the Lahore Session of the Indian National Congress by president-elect Jawaharlal Nehru. January 26, 1930, was declared “Purna Swaraj Diwas,” or Independence Day. A resolution was passed demanding complete independence for the first time on that day, so to honor that moment, January 26 became Republic Day.
Boom. You’re welcome for the history lesson.
India honors its history with festivities including a ceremonial parade held in New Delhi with the Indian Army, Air Force, Navy, and students. Often the parade is attended by honorary political guests from around the world along with the Prime Minister. This year there will be leaders from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Phillippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Brunei.
For those of us outside the country, the celebrations vary by community. Each country’s respective Indian consulates and missions celebrate with a ceremonial flag raising, patriotic songs, and speeches by ambassadors and diplomats. There is often singing by the statute of Mahatma Gandhi at the Indian embassy in America or flowers adorned on the statue to honor India’s history.
However, the average person tends to celebrate the holiday without as much gusto. While some places with concentrated desi populations, such as New York and New Jersey, hold fundraisers for charity, others communities such as in Ontario, Canada host all day events with cultural shows, dance competitions, singing competitions, and guest performers.
Many head to the movies or plop in front of the television for the patriotic film marathons that take over Indian tv channels.
With Diwali no longer the most wanted date for film releases, Republic Day has taken over as a lucrative release date. This year we’ll see the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s highly anticipated “Padmavat” on Republic day weekend.
Whether it’s the food, the female biker gang, or Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, and Ranveer Singh lighting up the big screen, this Republic Day is bound to be memorable.