Commonwealth Day is a worldwide celebration that takes place every year on March 13, although India and certain other countries mark it on May 24. Commonly known as Empire Day, the occasion aims to bring together 2.5 billion citizens of the Commonwealth to recognize their shared values and principles. It also emphasizes the importance of working together towards a sustainable and peaceful future for all.
The chosen theme for this year’s Commonwealth Day, “Forging a Sustainable and Peaceful Common Future,” .
Commonwealth Day has its roots in the year 1902 when it was established to honor Queen Victoria following her passing on January 22, 1901. The first commemoration of this significant day took place on May 24, 1902, coinciding with Queen Victoria’s birthday. However, it wasn’t until 1916 that the event, initially called Empire Day, gained official recognition as an annual observance.
In 1958, Harold Macmillan, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at the time, acknowledged the changing dynamics of the relationships among the member nations of the Commonwealth. Consequently, he decided to rename the event from Empire Day to Commonwealth Day. This name change reflected the evolving nature of the Commonwealth and the evolving connections among its member countries.