Did you know that the Constitution of India is the longest written constitution of any sovereign country in the world, containing 444 articles, 12 schedules and 94 amendments, with 117,369 words in its English version? Compare that to the United States Constitution, which comprises 7 articles and 27 amendments.
India became a republic on January 26, 1950. What that means is it is the birth date of the “Constitution of India,” the governing document that defines the principles upon which the nation is based. January 26 is a national holiday in India.
To commemorate this event, the government of India holds a magnificent parade in the capital each year, consisting of invited bands, military units, floats, and guests. India’s military from all three branches–army, navy, and air force–marches to the band and participates in the singing of the national anthem, “Jana gana mana…,” and other patriotic hymns. Cadets from the Indian military cadet core (NCC) and students from various local schools also participate in this event, which draws crowds in the hundreds of thousands. What follows the parade is a spectacular display of floats that grows each year in size, spirit, quality, and popularity. The floats celebrate the culture, diversity, and richness of India’s many states.
I remember as a child growing up in India, I attended my school’s Republic Day celebration, which typically began with students and teachers gathering in the grounds, and in no particular order, the unfurling of India’s tri-color flag, singing of the national anthem, and speeches by the school principal and a few select students. The event always concluded with the distribution of sweets–my favorite part.
I’d like to leave you with a little teaser. Finn Air treated it’s passengers on a flight to Delhi today with a dance to celebrate India’s Republic Day 2012. Check it out! jai Hind!
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