Commonwealth Day is celebrated every year on March 13, across the world. On the other hand, India along with some other countries observe it on May 24. With ‘Forging a Sustainable and Peaceful Common Future’ as its theme this year, Commonwealth Day, also known as Empire Day, aims to unite 2.5 billion Commonwealth citizens in celebration of their shared values and principles and pursue a common future, centred on sustainability and peace.
To mark the day, Speeches are delivered, and exhibitions and cultural events are held across the 56 Commonwealth member countries. Commonwealth Day also focuses on the objectives to help each other in improving health care, education, job opportunities, and sports as well as to protect each other’s environment.
Commonwealth Day 2023: History
The history of Commonwealth Day dates back to 1902 when it was initially established to honour Queen Victoria after her passing on January 22, 1901. The first celebration of this commemorative occasion took place on May 24, 1902, coinciding with Queen Victoria’s birth anniversary. However, it wasn’t until 1916 that Empire Day, as it was known then, gained official recognition as an annual event.
Lord Meath, in 1916, played a pivotal role in expanding the Empire Day festivities beyond national boundaries, transforming it into a significant historical event. Years later, in 1958, then United Kingdom Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, embracing the evolving nature of the relationship among member nations, announced that Empire Day would be renamed as Commonwealth Day.
Commonwealth Day 2023: Theme
Commonwealth Day serves as an opportunity to raise awareness and draw attention to the accomplishments of 54 Commonwealth countries in various areas, like addressing climate change as well as promoting gender equality. This year, the theme for Commonwealth Day is “Forging a Sustainable and Peaceful Common Future”, which also reflects the shared commitment of member nations towards building a better and united tomorrow.
Commonwealth Day 2023: Significance
The day signifies unity, solidarity and brotherhood. It holds symbolic value as it embodies unity and serves as a platform for Commonwealth members to reaffirm their unwavering dedication to equality, peace, and democracy. Commonwealth Day 2023 also aims to foster a sense of humanity and promote solidarity, emphasizing the collective pursuit of a harmonious and interconnected world.