National Day

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Independence or Death, famous painting from Pedro Américo that celebrates the Independence Day of Brazil.
In monarchies (such as here in Sweden) the head of state will often ride through the streets and greet citizens on National Day.

The National Day is a designated date on which celebrations mark the nationhood of a nation or non-sovereign country. This nationhood can be symbolized by the date of independence, of becoming republic or a significant date for a patron saint or a ruler (birthday, accession, removal, etc.). Often the day is not called "National Day" but serves and can be considered as one. The National Day will often be a national holiday.

Some countries have more than one National Day. For example, Pakistan has three National Days, none of which is named the "National Day". This signals the use of a "class" of National Days, that are equally important in the foundation of the nation, and a "class" of less important official public holidays.

Importance attached to the National Day as well as the degree to which it is celebrated vary greatly from country to country. For example, Spain's National Day Fiesta Nacional de España is held on 12 October, the day celebrated in other countries as Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, and commemorates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas.[1] A military parade is held in Madrid celebrating the occasion.[1] The National Day in France is 14 July and known as the Fête nationale (known outside of France as Bastille Day) commemorating the Storming of the Bastille,[2] which is considered the start of the French Revolution.[3] It is widely celebrated and the French Tricolour is much in evidence, while the President of the Republic attends a military parade on the Champs-Élysées of Paris. In the United States, the Independence Day celebrations on 4 July are widely celebrated with parades, fireworks, picnics and barbecues. In Ireland, Saint Patrick's Day, 17 March, has been the National Day and a Public Holiday for many years. However, in the United Kingdom the constituent countries' patron saints' days are low-key affairs. In recent times campaigns have commenced to promote the National Days of England, Scotland and Wales, with St. Andrew's Day being designated as an official bank holiday when the Scottish Parliament passed the St Andrew's Day Bank Holiday (Scotland) Act 2007. A National Day for the United Kingdom has also been proposed in recent years.

Most countries have a fixed date National Day, but some have movable dates. An example here is Jamaica, which up to 1997 celebrated its National Day on the first Monday in August. This commemorated independence from the United Kingdom which was attained on Monday, 6 August 1962, the first Monday in August of that year. Israel's Independence Day is not fixed relative to the civil Gregorian calendar, being formally linked to 5 Iyar on the Jewish calendar, but may also be moved to any day between 3 and 6 Iyar in order to avoid preparing for or celebrating either Independence Day or Memorial Day (which immediately precedes Independence Day) on Shabbat; the practical effect of this is that Independence Day may be celebrated any day between 15 April and 15 May. Another example is Thailand which celebrates the birthday of the king on 5 December. This date will change on the accession of the heir to the throne.

Most national days can be categorized in two large blocks:

  • Newer countries that celebrate their national day as the day of their independence.
  • Older countries that use some other event of special significance as their national day.

Denmark and the United Kingdom are among the few countries that do not have designated national days.

List of National Days[edit]

Map of reasons for national days

Places which are not sovereign states are shown in italics.

Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z
See also












  • Kazakhstan 16 December (Republic Day, declared independent republic from the USSR 1991), 30 August (Constitution Day, approval of the independent constitution in 1995)
  • Kenya 12 December (Independence Day, from the United Kingdom 1963; Republic Day, (Jamhuri Day), 1964)
  • Kiribati 12 July (Independence from the United Kingdom in 1979)
  • North Korea 15 August (liberation from Japanese rule, 1945) 9 September (declaration of the North Korean State, 1948)
  • South Korea 15 August (both the liberation from Japanese rule, 1945 (Gwangbokjeol) and the declaration of the South Korean state, 1948), 3 October (Gaecheonjeol, the ancient Korea founded in 2333 BC), 1 March (declaration of independence of modern Korea and the March 1st movement, 1919)
  • Kurdistan 21 March (Nawroz, Kurdish New Year celebrated on the spring equinox)
  • Kuwait 25 February (National Day) (26 February is Liberation Day, from Iraq 1991)
  • Kyrgyzstan 31 August (Independence Day, declaration of independence from the USSR in 1991)
  • Kosovo 17 February (see 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence)












  • Vanuatu 30 July (Independence Day, from the United Kingdom and France 1980)
  • Vatican City 11 February (anniversary of the foundation of Vatican City )
  • Venezuela 5 July (Independence Day, declaration of independence from Spain 1811)
  • Vietnam 2 September (National Day, declaration of independence from France and Japan 1945)




  • Zambia 24 October (Independence Day, declaration of independence from the United Kingdom 1964)
  • Zimbabwe 18 April (Independence Day, declaration of independence from the United Kingdom 1980; it had previously declared independence as Rhodesia in 1965)

Table sorted by date[edit]

The above list (with the same information) plus flags is given below as a collapsed table, initially sorted by date.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Molina A. de Cienfuegos, Ignacio; Martínez Bárcena, Jorge; Fuller, Linda K. (Ed.) (2004). "Spain: National Days throughout the History and the Geography of Spain". National Days/National Ways: Historical, Political, and Religious Celebrations around the World: 253. ISBN 978-0-275-97270-7. Retrieved 30 September 2009. 
  2. ^ "Bastille Day - Celebrate French Ancestry". 2012-04-09. Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  3. ^ "French Bastille Day in Australia. France's national day". Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  4. ^ "Baluchistan Independence Day". Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  5. ^ "Bosnia and Herzegovina". Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Loi n° 83-550 du 30 juin 1983 relative à la commémoration de l'abolition de l'esclavage (1)." (in (French)). Legifrance. Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  7. ^ "Embassy of the State of Palestine to Paraguay". 2011-07-16. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  8. ^ "Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malta - S.M.O.M". Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  9. ^ "Datas Nacionais — Ministério das Relações Exteriores" (in (Portuguese)). Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  10. ^ September Celebrations of Belize

External links[edit]

  • Flags by Louis, a blog about flags updated daily to show different national days