26th January is a very significant day in Indian political history as on this day the Constitution of India came into force and India became a sovereign state. It is declared a national holiday and is celebrated with a great deal of vigour and enthusiasm all over India. There are Republic Day Parades held in administrative units like capital cities, district headquarters, sub divisions, talukas and panchayats, school, colleges, offices or other places. The most spectacular celebration happens in Delhi, the national capital and the seat of the President.

Every year, a huge parade is held in Delhi beginning at Rajghat. The different regiments of the Army, Navy and Air force march past in their official uniforms from Raisina Hill near Rashtrapati Bhavan, along the Rajpath, reaching the India Gate and saluting the President of India. The celebration begins with the unfurling of the National flag by the President of India followed by the singing of the National Anthem and the 21 gun salute. The Prime Minister of India lays a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate to pay homage to all the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the nation during the freedom movement and many other wars while defending the country and its sovereignty.

Then, medals of bravery, Param Veer Chakra, Veer Chakra and Maha Veer Chakra are awarded to all deserving soldiers from the armed forces. Medals are also awarded to civilians and children for their exceptional courage and valor in grave situations.

After the parade, there is a pageant of spectacular displays from around the country. There are depictions of scenes from life and culture of each state in the country. Each depiction is accompanied by the folk songs, music and dance of that state. It is one occasion that brings together the diversity of the country on a single platform and shows the richness of the Indian culture.
Republic Day Parade Delhi
There is also an aeronautic display by air force planes.  The jet planes of Indian Air Force leave a trial of coloured smoke showering rose petals on the spectators which marks the end of the celebration of the day.
The distinguished N.C.C.Cadets from all over the country are invited to participate in the event which is a sign of great prestige and honor. Even the horses of the cavalry are caparisoned to match the occasion.
Republic Day Aeronautic Display Delhi
Children from various schools in the capital are invited to participate. They spend a lot of time and effort preparing for the event and make sure every detail is taken care of including the uniforms, the drills and the essential props for the grand parade.

The grand parade and the pageant are aired on National television and radio and is watched or listened to by millions of Indians across the country.

Since 1950, India has hosted a Chief Guest of Honor from another country for the Republic Day Celebration in Delhi. The guest country is chosen after a deliberation of political and economic interests.
The Beating Retreat is conducted on the evening of January 29 marks the end of the Republic day festivities. It is performed by the Armed Forces with the President of India as the Chief Guest.

In Mumbai, the Republic Day Parade is held at Shivaji Park. In Bangalore, there is a parade and a culture fair at the Field Marshal Manekshaw Parade Ground. In Kolkata, it is held along Red Road near the Maidan. In Chennai, the venues are Kamaraj Salai and Marina Beach for Republic Day parade and celebrations. The celebrations in all states are held under high security measures and railway and road routes are altered.

Celebration in Schools

Republic day celebrations take place with patriotic zest and fervor in schools. Children dress up like freedom fighters and recount the stories of their greatness. They pin Indian flags to their uniforms. There are tricolor balloons the national flag is hoisted in the school grounds. There are inter-class patriotic song and dance competition, drawing and elocution competitions, etc. Students usually put up a skit with a Republic day theme.

All children participate in the march past and raise slogans of Jai Hind. Teachers and Principals give speeches about India, its cultural heritage and the significance of Republic Day. Many schools invite famous personalities as chief guests for the occasion to address the children and judge the competitions.


Celebrations in Colleges and Universities

All colleges and universities have flag hoisting ceremony followed by the parade. Many students also perform street plays based on various national themes at various parts of the city. The enlightened youth give speeches addressing the youth population of their college.

Celebrations in Offices

Celebrations in office include decorating the office space with the tricolor flags. There is flag hoisting in some offices followed by a cultural program. There are various competitions held to celebrate the occasion accompanied by song and dance. The employees usually decide on a ‘dress code’ for the day.

Significance

The patriotic spirit is at its peak during the Republic day celebrations as it is a unifying force in a country with diversity in terms of language, religion and culture. Every part of the country is represented in the event which makes Republic day celebrations the most popular of all the national festivals in India.

The real meaning behind the celebration is to make every Indian proud of the rich culture, diversity, achievements, customs and traditions, to arouse spirit of national integration and patriotism, to reinforce one’s identity as an Indian irrespective of their caste, class or religion, to encourage the citizens of the country to be brave hearts who have the potential to bring about real change and difference to India’s future and to promote the one feeling, one thought and one goal – of Being a true Indian. Jai hind!

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