Remembrance Day

A holiday observed in various countries

Remembrance Day

When is Remembrance Day in 2016?

Country Known as Day Date
USA USA Veterans Day Friday 11 Nov
Belgium Belgium Armistice Day Friday 11 Nov
Canada Canada (regional) Remembrance Day Friday 11 Nov
France France Armistice Day Friday 11 Nov
Serbia Serbia Armistice Day Friday 11 Nov
United Kingdom United Kingdom Remembrance Sunday Sunday 13 Nov
Cayman Islands Cayman Islands Remembrance Day Monday 14 Nov

Remembrance Day is commemorated on the 11 November each year, and marks the end of World War I in 1918.

The intention of the day is to remember the fallen on both sides in the 'Great war'.

On the face of it, that all appears quite straightforward, yet, as with many holidays if we look a little deeper, we soon see things aren't quite as simple they seem.

11 November has an older tradition that is, by coincidence, associated with war and peace. In the Christian calendar it was known as 'Martinmas' or St. Martin's day.

Martin was a Roman soldier who converted to Christianity, and because of his new found religion, refused to fight under a pagan flag. After leaving the army, Martin (ironically named after Mars, the Roman god of war) became a monk, rising up through the orders to eventually become a bishop in Gaul (modern day France).

In the context of the modern day holiday, 11 November marks the signing of the armistice (peace agreement)  between the Allies and Germany at Compiègne, France.

The armistice took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning - the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month."

However, while this date is used to reflect the end of the whole war, it technically relates to the cease fire on the Western Front; fighting continued after 11 November in parts of the Ottoman Empire.

Did you know?

World  War I didn't legally end until Allied Forces left Constantinople (now Istanbul) on 23 August 1923.

After the 'end' of the war in 1918, it didn't take long before the signing of the armistice was adopted as a suitable time and date for countries involved in the war to mark the sacrifice of their soldiers, with official remembrance services taking place in the UK and USA in 1919.

Remembrance Day around the world

Despite the common history, Remembrance Day has evolved in different ways around the world. Depending on where you are in the world, it can be known as Armistice Day, Veterans' Day, Remembrance Day, Poppy Day and may not even be celebrated on 11 November.


In Canada, Remembrance Day is a public holiday and federal statutory holiday, as well as a statutory holiday in all three territories and in six of the ten provinces.

From 1921 to 1930, Armistice Day was held on the Monday of the week in which 11 November fell and Thanksgiving was held on the same day. In 1931 an act was adopted that said the day should be called Remembrance Day and be observed on 11 November.

Cayman Islands

In the Cayman islands, Remembrance Day is a public holiday on the second Monday in November.

United States

In the United States, the day was renamed to Veteran's day in 1954, after a campaign by a member of the public to extend the commemorations to include the fallen of World War II and other conflicts.

United Kingdom

In the UK, the official commemoration was moved to the Sunday closest to 11 November in 1939, to avoid any disruption to production in factories supporting the war effort. This Sunday observance has remained since, though the 11th may also be marked with a moment of silence at 11am.

Australia and New Zealand

In Australia and New Zealand, the events and losses at Gallipoli have taken a deeper hold on the psyche, and the ANZAC day celebrations are the main occasion for people to remember the fallen of conflicts.

Belgium and France

The day is marked by an official holiday in both France and Belgium. While the end of the war may be seen as a time for happiness and celebration; the unprecedented loss of life in the war means that the day is a somber day of reflection. In France, the day is marked by parades across the country, such as the grand parade at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

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