National Day around the world in 2025

National Day around the world in 2025
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  How long until National Day?
National Day
  Dates of National Day around the world
2025 Sri LankaFeb 4
Sri Lanka Tue, Feb 4National Holiday
2024 Sri LankaFeb 4
Sri Lanka Sun, Feb 4National Holiday
2023 Sri LankaFeb 4
Sri Lanka Sat, Feb 4National Holiday
2022 Sri LankaFeb 4
Sri Lanka Fri, Feb 4National Holiday
2021 Sri LankaFeb 4
Sri Lanka Thu, Feb 4National Holiday

On this day in 1948, the South Asian island country gained its political independence after more than five centuries of colonial rule.

When is Sri Lankan National Day?

This holiday is always celebrated on February 4th. Also known as Independence Day, it is Sri Lanka's National Day.

The holiday primarily celebrates Sri Lanka's independence from British rule on this day in 1948 but is also a day to remember Sri Lanka's struggle for independence from various regimes.

History of Sri Lankan National Day

When Europeans first started arriving in the region for trade and imperial expansion, Sri Lanka was an attractive acquisition given its location and geography.

The Portuguese were the first to make a serious attempt at colonisation in the 16th century. About a century later, the island was coveted by the Dutch, leading to clashes between the Portuguese and Dutch.

Eventually, given their power base in the region and fearing the island could fall under French control, the British took control of the coastal areas in 1796, naming it Ceylon. By 1815 they were the first colonial power to control the whole island.

Sri Lankans led a number of movements and legislative actions to achieve their freedom and self-governance. The Sri Lanka Independence Movement was a political initiative that educated the middle class and encouraged a peaceful transfer of power.

In 1944, the Soulbury Commission was formed to create a variety of new constitutional and legal reforms. Other notable events that preceded constitutional reform included the Ceylon National Congress and the Donoughmore Commission.

On February 4th 1948, British Ceylon was granted independence as Ceylon and became a dominion within the British Empire. Don Stephen Senanayake became its first Prime Minister. 

In 1972 Ceylon changed its name to Sri Lanka and became a republic within the commonwealth.

How is Sri Lankan National Day Celebrated?

Sri Lankan National Day is celebrated with official ceremonies and military parades. The main celebrations take place in the largest city, Colombo, where the President hoists the national flag and delivers a speech which is nationally televised.

In the speech, the President highlights the achievements of the government during the past year, raises important issues and requests the people to join together in commemorating this historic day. The President also pays tribute to the national heroes of Sri Lanka, observing two minutes of silence in their memory.

In addition to celebrating its independence, the National Day is also a day of remembrance for Sri Lanka’s national heroes, past and present. During the presidential address, two minutes of silence is observed in tribute to these heroes.

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