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Encyclopedia > Commonwealth Day

Commonwealth Day is the annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations held on the second Monday in March, and which is marked by a multi-faith service in Westminster Abbey normally attended by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth Secretary-General and the Commonwealth High Commissioners in London. The Queen delivers an address to the Commonwealth which is broadcast throughout the world on the BBC. The Commonwealth of Nations, usually known as The Commonwealth, is an association of 53 independent sovereign states, almost all of which are former territories of the British Empire. ... The Abbeys western façade The Collegiate Church of St Peter, Westminster, which is almost always referred to as Westminster Abbey, is a mainly Gothic church, on the scale of a cathedral, in Westminster, London, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. ... Elizabeth II (née Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor), born 21 April 1926, is Queen of sixteen independent nations known as the Commonwealth Realms (and has previously been Queen of sixteen others). ... A High Commissioner is a person serving in a special executive capacity. ... The Houses of Parliament and the clock tower containing Big Ben Part of the London skyline viewed from the South Bank London (see Wiktionary:London for the name in other languages) is the capital of the United Kingdom and England. ... Corporate logo of the British Broadcasting Corporation. ...

While it has a certain official status, Commonwealth Day is not a public holiday in most Commonwealth countries and there is very little public awareness of it.



After the death in 1901 of Queen Victoria, the first British Monarch who used the style Emperor/Empress of India (in the British position as Paramount ruler) in addition to the royal title of the UK, her birthday, May 24, was made an annual commemoration under the name Empire Day. This day was celebrated with families lighting fireworks in their backyards or attending community bonfires. It was a day that gave Australians a chance to show their pride in being part of the British Empire. Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria) (24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837, and Empress of India from 1 January 1877, until her death. ... Signature of King Edward VIII The R and I after his name indicate king and emperor in Latin (Rex and Imperator, respectively). ... The term Paramount Ruler, or sometimes Paramount King, is a generic description, rarely an actual title, for a number of rulers position in relative terms, as the summit of a feudal-type pyramid of rulers of lesser polities (such as vassal princes) in a given historical and geographical context, often... A birthday is the date on which a person was born. ... May 24 is the 144th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (145th in leap years). ...

In 1958 Empire Day was renamed Commonwealth Day, in accordance with the new post-colonial form of the forum of nations bound by the (former or continuing) rule of the British crown, and from 1977 it has been celebrated on the second Monday in March rather than in May.

In 2006 Queen Elizabeth II delivered her Commonwealth Day address from St. Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney, Australia. Elizabeth II (née Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor), born 21 April 1926, is Queen of sixteen independent nations known as the Commonwealth Realms (and has previously been Queen of sixteen others). ... St Andrews Cathedral, Sydney is the cathedral church of the Anglican diocese of Sydney, and the seat of the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney and Metropolitan of NSW, The Most Rev Dr Peter Jensen. ...

Other holidays

Although Commonwealth Day is not widely known, many Commonwealth countries do have at least one public holiday that celebrates the Queen's birthday.

In Australia and New Zealand and some other countries, there is a Queen's Birthday holiday. In Jersey the Lieutenant-Governor hosts a reception for the public at Government House to mark the Queens Official Birthday at which he announces recipients of Birthday Honours The Queens Birthday or Queens Official Birthday is celebrated as a public holiday in several Commonwealth countries (usually Commonwealth...

In Canada, the Monday on or before May 24 is still a public holiday known as Victoria Day. Victoria Day (Fête de la Reine) is a Canadian Statutory Holiday celebrated on the Monday on or before May 24 in honor of Queen Victorias birthday. ...

In various other member states of the Commonwealth, Commonwealth Day is celebrated on the second Monday in March. In 2006, this is March 13. In some countries, such as Belize, it is a public holiday. 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... March 13 is the 72nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (73rd in leap years). ...

Commonwealth Day on Stamps

In 1983 Commonwealth Day was commemorated by the postal administrations of the Commonwealth.

Stamps were issued by:

the notable ommissions were Aitutaki is one of the Cook Islands, north of Rarotonga. ... Barbuda is an island in the Antigua and Barbuda. ... Nevis is an island in the Caribbean, whose name is derived from an original Spanish name given by Christopher Columbus, Nuestra Señora de las Nieves (somewhat counterintuitively, given its tropical location and climate, Our Lady of the Snows). Together with Saint Kitts it constitutes the Federation of Saint Kitts... Penrhyn Island (also called Tongareva or Mangarongaro) is the most remote and largest atoll of the 15 Cook Islands in the south Pacific Ocean, 1365 km (848 miles) north-north-east of Rarotonga, 9 degrees below the equator. ... The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, located in the Leeward Islands is a unitary island nation in the Caribbean. ... Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an independent sovereign state of the Caribbean, part of the Commonwealth of Nations. ... National motto: Together we aspire, together we achieve Official language English Capital Port of Spain President George Maxwell Richards Prime Minister Patrick Manning Area  - Total  - % water Ranked 163rd 5,128 km² Negligible Population  - Total (2000)  - Density Ranked 151st 1,262,366 215/km² HDI (2003) 0. ... The Turks and Caicos Islands are an overseas territory of the United Kingdom consisting of two groups of tropical islands in the Atlantic Ocean, southeast of the Bahamas, at 21°45′N 71°35′W. The territory is geographically part of the Bahamas, but not politically. ...

Flag of the British Antarctic Territory The British Antarctic Territory is the British claim to land and islands in Antarctica, and is the oldest territorial claim on the continent. ... National motto: Sub Umbra Floreo (Latin: Under the Shade I Flourish) Location of Belize Official language English Capital Belmopan Queen Elizabeth II Governor-General Sir Colville Young Prime Minister Said Musa Area  - Total  - % water Ranked 146th 22,966 km² (8,879 mi²) 0. ... Redonda is an uninhabited island dependency of Antigua and Barbuda. ... Political status Dependency of New Zealand Governor Dame Silvia Cartwright, ex officio as Governor-General of New Zealand Area  â€“ Total  450 000 km² (174 000 mi²) Population Scott Base: 10-80 seasonally McMurdo Station: 200-1000 seasonally Currency New Zealand dollar The Ross Dependency comprises an area of Antarctica (and... Map of Aldabra Atoll Aldabra and Assumption Island Aldabra Atoll Aldabra is a raised coral atoll in the Indian Ocean virtually untouched by humans, with distinctive island fauna, including the Aldabra Giant Tortoise. ...

External links

  • Commonwealth Day official website
  • The Commonwealth Secretariat official website

  Results from FactBites:
Commonwealth of Nations - definition of Commonwealth of Nations in Encyclopedia (2414 words)
The Commonwealth is the successor of the British Empire and has its origins in the Imperial Conferences of the late 1920s (conferences of British and colonial prime ministers had occurred periodically since 1887), where the independence of the self-governing colonies and especially of dominions was recognised, and eventually formalised by the Statute of Westminster 1931.
The Commonwealth was established as an association of free and equal states, and membership was based on common allegiance to the British Crown.
The issue of republican status within the Commonwealth was only resolved in 1950 when it was agreed according to a formula proposed by Canadian Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent that India should remain a Commonwealth member despite adopting her present republican constitution.
  More results at FactBites »



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