When is Commonwealth Day?
How long until Commonwealth Day?
|This holiday next takes place in 139 Days.|
Dates of Commonwealth Day
Who observes Commonwealth day?
|Turks and Caicos Islands|
|Originally known as Empire Day, this holiday marked Queen Victoria's birthday|
Commonwealth Day holiday is a moveable feast celebrating the British Commonwealth.
Commonwealth Day is celebrated on the second Monday in March.
At the end of the nineteenth century, when the British Empire was arguably at its peak, Empire Day was established in Canada. The holiday was held on the last school day before Queen Victoria's birthday, 24 May.
Following the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, the holiday grew in popularity across the empire. The horrors of the First World War changed how the holiday should be celebrated, with it becoming more a day of remembrance.
With the surge for independence from the empire in the late 1950's, the British prime minister Harold MacMillan announced that Empire Day would be changed to Commonwealth Day. In 1976, the date of the holiday was switched to the Second Monday in March. This date was chosen as no Commonwealth country had a public holiday on that day and almost all countries had school terms.
Did you know?
In Canada, Empire Day became Victoria Day and remains a public holiday celebrated on the Monday before 25 May.
Only two of the 53 member countries celebrate Commonwealth Day as a national holiday.
The day is marked by a Commonwealth Service held at Westminster Abbey in London.
Every year a specific theme is chosen for Commonwealth Day. For 2016, the theme is 'An Inclusive Commonwealth'.