National Day of the People’s Republic of China

National Day (Chinese: 国庆节; pinyin: guóqìng jié; lit. ‘national celebration day’), officially the National Day of the People’s Republic of China (中华人民共和国国庆节), is a public holiday in China celebrated annually on 1 October as the national day of the People’s Republic of China, commemorating the formal proclamation of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China on 1 October 1949. The Chinese Communist Party victory in the Chinese Civil War resulted in the Kuomintang “retreat” to Taiwan and the Chinese Communist Revolution whereby the People’s Republic of China “replaced” the Republic of China.

Although it is observed on 1 October, another six days are added to the official holiday, normally in lieu of the two weekend breaks around 1 October, making it a de facto public holiday comprising seven consecutive days also known as Golden Week (黄金周; huángjīn zhōu) with specifics regulated by the State Council. Festivities and concerts are usually held nationwide on this day, with a grand military parade and mass pageant event held on select years. The parade held on 1 October 2019 marked the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) defeated the incumbent Kuomintang (KMT) nationalist government of the Republic of China in the Chinese Civil War that took place from 1927 to 1950 except for a brief alliance against Japan in the Second Sino-Japanese War. In its aftermath, the internationally recognized government of China withdrew to the island of Taiwan, previously a prefecture of the Qing Empire that was ceded to Japan under its colonial rule from 1895 to 1945.

The People’s Republic of China was founded on 1 October 1949, with a ceremony celebrating the forming of the Central People’s Government taking place in Tiananmen Square in its new national capital of Peking (previously Peiping) on the same day that year. The first public parade of the new People’s Liberation Army took place there, following the address by the country’s first Chairman Mao Zedong officially declaring the formal establishment of the Republic. The Central People’s Government passed the Resolution on the National Day of the People’s Republic of China on 2 December 1949, and declared that 1 October is the National Day.

National Day marks the start of the only golden week (黄金周) in the PRC that the government has kept. Removing one of the Golden Weeks caused controversies when it happened in 2007.

The day is celebrated throughout mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau with a variety of government-organized festivities, including fireworks and concerts, as well as sports events and cultural events. Public places, such as Tiananmen Square in Beijing, are decorated in a festive theme. Portraits of revered leaders, such as Mao Zedong, are publicly displayed. The holiday is also celebrated by many overseas Chinese.

21th September ’22: Independence Day [Malta]

Independence Day (Maltese: Jum l-Indipendenza) is one of the five national holidays in Malta. It celebrates the day the country gained independence from the United Kingdom on 21 September 1964. Throughout its existence, Malta had a long and complex history which resulted in the island being ruled by a plethora of foreign rulers. Such rulers include the likes of the “Phoenicians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Normans, Sicilians, Swabians, Aragonese, Hospitallers, French, and British”. Malta’s final ruler, Britain, granted Malta self-governance after Malta’s brave resistance to the Axis powers and loyalty to Britain during World War II, which did allow for the movement for independence to grow more in popularity. Malta attained independence from the British Empire and joined the Commonwealth of Nations in 1964 and declared itself a republic a decade later, known as Republic Day.


Malta has been an area of interest, for its strategic location in the Mediterranean Sea, since classical times. The island allowed for great international trade and a militarily strategic location, the island was wonderful for navies to stop and rest and it was a great base for military assaults from the air and the sea. The island’s longest ruler was the Knights of St. John, who controlled the island for 250 years. The Knights lost their control of the island after an invasion by French forces led by Napoleon. Napoleon’s fleet was en route to invade Egypt and beyond, but needed a place to rest beforehand. Malta refused Napoleon’s request to harbour at its islands, but he was not going to let his invasion fail at the fault of the small island-state so he invaded and seized control of the island. While Malta might have been taken through force, the French did not treat them wrongly. France established many reforms that reflected that of the French Revolution, such as ending the remaining feudalistic policies, building and founding many schools, and abolishing slavery. Despite this, the people of Malta saw those policies as excessive for the locals were “largely dominated by [and loyal to] two institutions: the aristocracy and the Church.” The Maltese people revolted against the French in response to the policies enacted by France in the occupation of 1799. The French had also been plundering art and national treasures belonging to Malta and taking them back to France, such as the sword belonging to Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Vallette. During this time, the French had been at war with the British, hence why Napoleon was headed for British-owned Egypt. So when the Maltese resistance attempted to retake their capital of Valletta and failed, they turned to Britain for help. Britain accepted Malta’s plea for help since France was Britain’s nemesis. With famous Admiral Lord Nelson, British forces blockaded the island and took it in 1800. Britain incorporated Malta into their empire, and in 1869, Malta would become famous for its use as a halfway stop between British Gibraltar and the newly opened Suez Canal. The island would then be built up as a fortress and made into the home the British Mediterranean fleet.

A century later would have the Second World War occur. Being the home of the British fleet in the Mediterranean, the Axis powers would try repeatedly to either destroy or control the island. This devastated Malta, but the island never gave in. Their stern resistance against the Nazis and Fascist Italians was rewarded by the British, who both gave the people of Malta the George Cross and promised to give the Maltese people independence. A small amount of local rule was given in 1947, though it wasn’t until 21 September 1964 that full independence came. Malta became a republic a decade later and British forces finally left the country after the defence treaty expired on 31 March 1979, which is celebrated as “Freedom Day”.

16th september (’22): Cry of dolores [Mexico]

The Cry of Dolores (Spanish: Grito de Dolores) occurred in Dolores, Mexico, on 16 September 1810, when Roman Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang his church bell and gave the call to arms that triggered the Mexican War of Independence. The Cry of Dolores is most commonly known by the locals as “El Grito de Independencia” (The Independence Cry).

Every year on the eve of Independence Day, the President of Mexico re-enacts the cry from the balcony of the National Palace in Mexico City, while ringing the same bell Hidalgo used in 1810. During the patriotic speech, the president calls out the names of the fallen heroes who died during the War of Independence and he ends the speech by shouting Viva Mexico! three times followed by the Mexican National Anthem.

Close-up of balcony where the president of Mexico gives the annual ‘Grito de Dolores’ on Independence Day

Image extracted from the book by Vicente Riva Palacio, Julio Zárate (1880) “México a través de los siglos” Tomo III: “La Guerra de Independencia” (1808 – 1821).
In the 1810s, what would become Mexico was still New Spain, part of the Spanish crown. The independence movement began to take shape when José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara went to the small town of Dolores (now known as Dolores Hidalgo) and asked the local Roman Catholic priest, Miguel Hidalgo, to help initiate an effort to free New Spain from Spanish control.[clarification needed][citation needed]

Gutiérrez de Lara went to Washington, D.C. for military support (being the first Mexican to do so).] Hidalgo remained in Dolores, waiting for Gutiérrez de Lara to return with military support. However, fearing arrest, Hidalgo told his brother Mauricio to make the sheriff free the pro-independence inmates there. Mauricio and armed men set 80 inmates free in the early morning hours of 16 September 1810. Around 2:30 a.m., Hidalgo ordered the church bells to be rung and gathered his congregation. Flanked by Ignacio Allende and Juan Aldama, he addressed the people in front of his church, urging them to revolt. His speech became known as the “Cry of Dolores”.

The liberated country adopted Mexico as its official name. Mexico’s independence from Spain took a decade of war. Gutiérrez de Lara commanded and led Mexico to victory. Independence was achieved by the Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire 11 years and 12 days later, on 28 September 1821. However, Hidalgo is credited as being the “father of his country”.

The day of 16 September was first celebrated in 1812 in Huichapan, Hidalgo. It was given the status of a national holiday in the Constitution of Apatzingán, ratified by the conventions of 1822 and 1824, and first celebrated nationally in 1825.

The Cry of Dolores has assumed an almost mythical status. Since the late 20th century, the event has come to symbolize Mexican independence and to initiate Independence Day ceremonies the following day (16 September). Independence Day in Mexico is a patriotic holiday, marked by parades, concerts, patriotic programs, drum and bugle and marching band competitions, and special programs on the national and local media outlets.

Every 15 September at around 11 p.m., the President of Mexico stands on the balcony of the National Palace in Mexico City and rings the same bell that Hidalgo rang in 1810, which was moved to the National Palace. The President then recites a shout of patriotism (a Grito Mexicano) based upon the “Grito de Dolores”, with the names of the important heroes of the Mexican War of Independence who were there on that historic day. The Grito ends with the threefold shout of ¡Viva México!

The Grito often differs slightly from year to year to reflect recent sentiments, or a preference by the President for a shorter or longer shout. This is the version often recited by the President of Mexico:

Puerto Rico Constitution Day

Law #1 of August 4, 1952 of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico established a full state holiday on July 25 of every year, to be known as Puerto Rico Constitution Day. The holiday commemorates the day the Constitution of Puerto Rico, approved on July 3, 1952, was signed into law by Governor Luis Muñoz Marín the same year.

Up to then, July 25 had been a holiday in Puerto Rico, known as “Occupation Day”, to commemorate the arrival of United States military forces on July 25, 1898 in an area of the municipality of Yauco that in the early 20th century would become the separate municipality of Guánica.

The government of Puerto Rico holds a commemorative ceremony every year, the most recent of which was held at the Puerto Rico Department of State headquarters building, the “Edificio de la Real Intendencia”, in Old San Juan with the mayor of Yauco, Abel Nazario, as the keynote speaker and Supreme Court Associate Justice Edgardo Rivera Garcia in charge of the reading of the Constitution’s Preamble.

23th July (’22): National Holiday of Egypt (Egyptian revolution of 1952 )

The Egyptian Revolution of 1952 (Arabic: ثورة 23 يوليو 1952), also known as the 1952 Coup d’etat (Arabic: انقلاب 1952) and 23 July Revolution, was a period of profound political, economic, and societal change in Egypt that began on 23 July 1952 with the toppling of King Farouk in a coup d’etat by the Free Officers Movement, a group of army officers led by Mohamed Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser. The Revolution ushered in a wave of revolutionary politics in the Arab World, and contributed to the escalation of decolonisation, and the development of Third World solidarity during the Cold War.

Though initially focused on grievances against King Farouk, the movement had more wide-ranging political ambitions. In the first three years of the Revolution, the Free Officers moved to abolish the constitutional monarchy and aristocracy of Egypt and Sudan, establish a republic, end the British occupation of the country, and secure the independence of Sudan (previously governed as an condominium of Egypt and the United Kingdom). The revolutionary government adopted a staunchly nationalist, anti-imperialist agenda, which came to be expressed chiefly through Arab nationalism, and international non-alignment.

The Revolution was faced with immediate threats from Western imperial powers, particularly the United Kingdom, which had occupied Egypt since 1882, and France, both of whom were wary of rising nationalist sentiment in territories under their control throughout Africa, and the Arab World. The ongoing state of war with the State of Israel also posed a serious challenge, as the Free Officers increased Egypt’s already strong support of the Palestinians. These two issues converged in the fifth year of the Revolution when Egypt was invaded by the United Kingdom, France, and the State of Israel in the Suez Crisis of 1956 (known in Egypt as the Tripartite Aggression). Despite enormous military losses, the war was seen as a political victory for Egypt, especially as it left the Suez Canal in uncontested Egyptian control for the first time since 1875, erasing what was seen as a mark of national humiliation. This strengthened the appeal of the revolution in other Arab countries.

Wholesale agrarian reform, and huge industrialisation programmes were initiated in the first decade and half of the Revolution, leading to an unprecedented period of infrastructure building, and urbanisation. By the 1960s, Arab socialism had become a dominant theme, transforming Egypt into a centrally planned economy. Official fear of a Western-sponsored counter-revolution, domestic religious extremism, potential communist infiltration, and the conflict with the State of Israel were all cited as reasons compelling severe and longstanding restrictions on political opposition, and the prohibition of a multi-party system. These restrictions on political activity would remain in place until the presidency of Anwar Sadat from 1970 onwards, during which many of the policies of the Revolution were scaled back or reversed.

The early successes of the Revolution encouraged numerous other nationalist movements in other countries, such as Algeria, where there were anti-imperialist and anti-colonial rebellions against European empires. It also inspired the toppling of existing pro-Western monarchies and governments in the MENA region.

The Revolution is commemorated each year on 23 July.

14th July (’22): Bastille Day – French national holiday

Bastille Day is the common name given in English-speaking countries to the national day of France, which is celebrated on 14 July each year. In French, it is formally called Fête nationale française (French: [fɛt nasjɔnal]; “French National Celebration”), and legally le 14 juillet (French: [lə katɔʁz(ə) ʒɥijɛ]; “the 14th of July”).

The French National Day is the anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, a major event of the French Revolution, as well as the Fête de la Fédération that celebrated the unity of the French people on 14 July 1790. Celebrations are held throughout France. One that has been reported as “the oldest and largest military parade in Europe” is held on 14 July on the Champs-Élysées in Paris in front of the President of the Republic, along with other French officials and foreign guests.

In 1789, tensions rose in France between reformist and conservative factions as the country struggled to resolve an economic crisis. In May, the Estates General legislative assembly was revived, but members of the Third Estate broke ranks, declaring themselves to be the National Assembly of the country, and on 20 June, vowed to write a constitution for the kingdom.

On 11 July Jacques Necker, the Finance Minister of Louis XVI, who was sympathetic to the Third Estate, was dismissed by the king, provoking an angry reaction among Parisians. Crowds formed, fearful of an attack by the royal army or by foreign regiments of mercenaries in the king’s service, and seeking to arm the general populace. Early on 14 July one crowd besieged the Hôtel des Invalides for firearms, muskets, and cannons, stored in its cellars. That same day, another crowd stormed the Bastille, a fortress-prison in Paris that had historically held people jailed on the basis of lettres de cachet (literally “signet letters”), arbitrary royal indictments that could not be appealed and did not indicate the reason for the imprisonment, and was believed to hold a cache of ammunition and gunpowder. As it happened, at the time of the attack, the Bastille held only seven inmates, none of great political significance.

The crowd was eventually reinforced by mutinous Régiment des Gardes Françaises (“French Guards”), whose usual role was to protect public buildings. They proved a fair match for the fort’s defenders, and Governor de Launay, the commander of the Bastille, capitulated and opened the gates to avoid a mutual massacre. According to the official documents, about 200 attackers and just one defender died before the capitulation. However, possibly because of a misunderstanding, fighting resumed. In this second round of fighting, de Launay and seven other defenders were killed, as was Jacques de Flesselles, the prévôt des marchands (“provost of the merchants”), the elected head of the city’s guilds, who under the feudal monarchy also had the competences of a present-day mayor.

Shortly after the storming of the Bastille, late in the evening of 4 August, after a very stormy session of the Assemblée constituante, feudalism was abolished. On 26 August, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (Déclaration des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen) was proclaimed.

1st July (’22): Canada Day

Canada Day (French: Fête du Canada) is the national day of Canada. A federal statutory holiday, it celebrates the anniversary of Canadian Confederation which occurred on July 1, 1867, with the passing of the British North America Act, 1867 where the three separate colonies of the United Canadas, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick were united into a single Dominion within the British Empire called Canada. Originally called Dominion Day (French: Le Jour de la Confédération), the holiday was renamed in 1982, the same year that the Canadian Constitution was patriated by the Canada Act 1982. Canada Day celebrations take place throughout the country, as well as in various locations around the world attended by Canadians living abroad.

Canada Day is often informally referred to as “Canada’s birthday”, particularly in the popular press. However, the term “birthday” can be seen as an oversimplification, as Canada Day is the anniversary of only one important national milestone on the way to the country’s full sovereignty, namely the joining on July 1, 1867, of the colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a wider British federation of four provinces (the colony of Canada being divided into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec upon Confederation). Canada became a “kingdom in its own right” within the British Empire commonly known as the Dominion of Canada.

Although a British dominion, Canada gained an increased level of political control and governance over its own affairs, the British parliament and Cabinet maintaining political control over certain areas, such as foreign affairs, national defence, and constitutional changes. Canada gradually gained increasing sovereignty over the years, notably with the passage of the Statute of Westminster in 1931, until finally becoming completely sovereign with the passing of the Constitution Act, 1982 which served to fully patriate the Canadian constitution.

Under the federal Holidays Act, Canada Day is observed on July 1, unless that date falls on a Sunday, in which case July 2 is the statutory holiday. Celebratory events will generally still take place on July 1, even though it is not the legal holiday. If it falls on a weekend, businesses normally closed that day usually dedicate the following Monday as a day off.

22th June (’22): Anti-Fascist Struggle Day [Croatia]

Anti-Fascist Struggle Day (Croatian: Dan antifašističke borbe) is a public holiday in Croatia. It is observed on 22 June and commemorates the formation of the First Sisak Partisan Detachment, a Communist-led guerrilla unit during World War II in Yugoslavia on 22 June 1941, and in general the uprising of the anti-fascist Croatian wing of the Yugoslav Partisans against the forces of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and their puppet state―Independent State of Croatia.

The Kingdom of Yugoslavia had been routed and occupied by Germany and Italy in mid-April 1941, and on 22 June, when Germany attacked the Soviet Union, the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY) received orders from the Moscow-based Comintern to come to the Soviet Union’s aid.

The public holiday was introduced by the Croatian Parliament in 1991. It replaced a similar commemoration on 27 July, the so called “Day of the Uprising of the People of Croatia”, that had been an official holiday in the Socialist Republic of Croatia and alluded to the Srb uprising.

17th June (’22): Icelandic National Day

17th

Icelandic National Day (Icelandic: Þjóðhátíðardagurinn, the day of the nation’s celebration) is an annual holiday in Iceland which commemorates the foundation of The Republic of Iceland on 17 June 1944. This date also marks the end of Iceland’s centuries old ties with Denmark. The date was chosen to coincide with the birthday of Jón Sigurðsson, a major figure of Icelandic culture and the leader of the 19th century Icelandic independence movement.

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The formation of the republic was based on a clause in the 1918 Act of Union with Denmark, which allowed for a revision in 1943, as well as the results of the 1944 plebiscite.

German occupation of Denmark meant that the revision of the Act of Union could not take place in 1943. But the referendum on abolishing the monarchy went ahead in 1944 while Denmark was still occupied by Germany and was overwhelmingly approved. At the time, the US Military had taken over the defence of Iceland at Iceland’s invitation, after being occupied by Britain in 1940. Although saddened by the results of the plebiscite, King Christian X sent a letter on 17 June 1944 congratulating Icelanders on the establishment of a republic.

Abolishing the monarchy resulted in little change to the Icelandic constitution, “The King” was merely changed to “The President”. Icelanders celebrated the severing of all formal ties with Denmark after centuries of sometimes difficult Danish rule. Iceland’s national day was chosen as the birthday of Jón Sigurðsson who pioneered the early independence movement. Mr. Sveinn Björnsson became the first President of Iceland.

2nd June (’22): Republic Day [Italy]

Festa della Repubblica (Italian: [ˈfɛsta della reˈpubblika]; English: Republic Day) is the Italian National Day and Republic Day, which is celebrated on 2 June each year, with the main celebration taking place in Rome. The Festa della Repubblica is one of the national symbols of Italy.

The day commemorates the institutional referendum held by universal suffrage in 1946, in which the Italian people were called to the polls to decide on the form of government following the Second World War and the fall of Fascism.

The ceremony of the event, organized in Rome, includes the deposition of a laurel wreath as a tribute to the Italian Unknown Soldier at the Altare della Patria by the President of the Italian Republic and a military parade along Via dei Fori Imperiali in Rome.