26th January honours the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect-- it was on this day in 1950 that the Constitution replaced the Government of India Act of 1935 to become the governing document of the country. This meant that India became a republic in 1950, with the constitution coming into force with a democratic governing system. On Republic Day, every year, the Rajpath arena in Delhi is lined with flag-waving crowds who gather to watch this remarkable display of India’s cultural diversity, military strength, and historical significance.
Republic Day 2021 is a different one due to the pandemic. We won’t have the huge community Republic Day celebration, but a smaller, scaled-back one. This time around, Republic Day 2021 feels like a good time for a throwback to our favorite Republic Day memories.
1. Watching the Republic Day Parade with the whole family:
If you were in Delhi in January, watching the gantantra diwas parade in person was a must! And if not, it was a must to enjoy the parade on the TV with family. The whole family would eagerly sit around the TV in the morning to see all three divisions of the armed forces- the army, navy and the air force all come together to create a display like no other! To watch as the parade started at the Raisina Hill in the Rashtrapati Bhawan along Rajpath and past the India Gate.
2. The Gantantra Diwas Flag Hoisting in School:
For most of us, Republic Day memories come from the customary school celebrations. There was something about the flag hoisting ceremony, the petals showering out of the flag while it unfolded, and the national anthem sung by hundreds of people together that made all of us feel proud and patriotic.
3. Left Right Left! The School March Past:
Watching soldiers marching in perfect time was totally inspiring. We wanted to be like them in our school march past and tried our best! Senior students in their house divisions would march, led by the school council carrying the tri-color flag and the school flags. Then there were speeches by the student council. My school made sure we had a mix of speeches and poem recitation in both English and the regional language. Then the school choir performed some great poems and songs that infused the air with pride and gratitude for the nation.
4. Honoring the fallen soldiers:
The Prime Minister lays a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti, the memorial to our fallen servicemen at the India Gate, at one end of the Rajpath, as a way to honor the service of our fallen soldiers and to remind the nation of their sacrifice. This is followed by a solemn two minute silence offered by the nation and its citizens to their fallen comrades. The elders in our family made sure that as children we not only held the silence but felt indebted to the soldiers who protected our nation with their lives.
5. The Chief Guest:
The President of India arrives accompanied by a notable foreign Head of State - who is the invited Chief Guest at the celebration. As kids, we were super excited to see the people we had heard of - from Queen Elizabeth to Vladimir Putin- arrive as chief guests for our Republic Day celebrations and join our leaders in celebrating such a momentous occasion.
6. The Parade’s salutations to the President:
The President of India is also the commander in chief of the Indian Armed Forces. And as the parade marches-past with the officers from the army, navy and the air-force in all their finery and official decorations, along with the contingents from various para-military divisions, the soldiers all offer a collective salute to their commander in chief. The Indian Military also showcases its latest acquisitions such as tanks, missiles, radars, etc. A great show where all of us, as citizens, could not help but feel proud of the military might of our nation.
7. Unfurling of the tiranga at Rajpath:
The President of the nation unfurls the tiranga and receives the 21 gun salute from the armed forces. The sight of the flag hoisting with the national anthem being sung in the background is magnificent and remains etched in the memory of the viewer forever. Everyone in the family would stand up and sing the national anthem proudly while it played on TV.
8. Bravery Awards:
The flag hoisting is followed by a big award ceremony where the president awards important medals like kirti chakra, ashok chakra to chosen citizens- both civilian and armed forces, for the exceptional courage and bravery in service of the nation. And the kids who received the medals inspired us to be like them!
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9. Watching the Tableaus:
The crowd favorite part of the Republic Day parade was the tableaus presented by the states and their ministers. The tableaus were presentations made by the states to represent any historical event, heritage, culture, development programmes and environment that is particular to that state. The tableaus represented the diversity of our big country, and how even though we had different cultural histories, we all came together to become one nation-- India.
Source: Times Now News
10. Eagerness to witness the helium ballons and the fighter jet show:
For people, especially children in Delhi, the excitement with which people gathered over the terraces to witness the sky full of the tricolor balloons and the show put on by the fighter jets as they infused the air with the three colors of the ‘tiranga’. The view, my friends, was dazzling.
11. Tricolor fervor:
One of the more exciting memories from the Republic Day was to figure out creative ways to include the Saffron, White and Green on your person-- whether it be the tricolor headbands, badges or braiding our hair in the tricolor ribbons.
12. The Food!
Source: WikimediaIn a country with as diverse food traditions as India, one of the best ways for the citizens to celebrate Republic Day is to experiment and get creative with the food they make. Hotels, Restaurants and Cafes come up with special Republic Day menus-- you will find a tri-color biryani being made in most places in Hyderabad, while many places in Gujarat will make special tricolor dhoklas, we find the tiranga lassi in Punjab, while we find tricolor rabdi in Rajasthan.
We at GODESi are proud and happy to belong to India and be connected to our roots. This Republic Day Celebration, we’ll watch the parade from the comfort and safety of our homes while snacking on All Things DESi, the yummiest Indian snacks made with natural ingredients!