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Jan 26th in India and Australia | Similarities & Differences

  • January 26 is a national holiday in both Australia and India. It marks the celebration of Australia Day in Australia and Republic Day in India. Both the nations have close association with each other. Over the years, the Prime Ministers of Australia have spoken of the “togetherness” both these countries share, the steadily diminishing distance which separates Australia and India, and what Australia and India have in common. 

    Let us see what makes January 26 a public holiday in both nations. Also, what actually is celebrating and commemorating. Let us try finding answers for these popular questions and see if there is something in common between the history and celebration and also if there is something that makes a stark difference. 

    Australia Day can be identified as a commemoration of the first British fleet arrival in Port Jackson in 1788, rowed to eastern part of Australia and took possession of the land under Captain Arthur Philip— the beginning of the British colonisation of Australia. Once Australia came into being as a nation, the day was adopted as a national day in 1994 and now millions of Australians come together to celebrate the day in exquisite ways— outdoor concerts, sports competitions, fireworks, special Australia Day cruise, to list a few. There are state sponsored spectacular events and fireworks displays along with family oriented events. To substantiate, Sydney Harbour hosts a string of events including tall ship parade, ferry race, RAAF flyover, and so on. Sydneysiders are fond of Australia Day cruises on Sydney Harbour since it is one of the best ways to see all the events up close with an amazing cruise and dine experience. Even though the day is celebrated as the foundation of the modern day Australian State, the concept of post colonialism marks the day as the invasion of the continent, destruction of its original culture, and the beginning of imperialism.   

    On the contrary, India’s  Republic Day celebrates the birth of their constitution and the birth of their nation as the biggest sovereign democracy. The Constitution of India came into effect on 26 January 1950 and completed India’s transition as an independent republic. Hundreds of thousands and several regiments of the navy, army, air force, and their bands march to the famous India Gate to celebrate the national day with interesting events including the Republic Day parade and colourful cultural programmes representing the diverse Indian culture. Like how national day is celebrated in the national capital, different Indian states also celebrate this special day in their own ways with ceremonial march past, flag hoisting, award ceremonies, and various cultural programmes.       

    Even though both Australia and India are guided by the same ideals, values, and principles, Jan 26, the common national day, has a stark contrast in nature. While Indians celebrate their decision to break ties with the British, Australians celebrate the arrival of the first fleet of the British Admiralty. 



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