With Singapore’s National Day just around the corner, the sight of SAF fighter jets zooming across the sky and families gathering to watch live telecasts of the National Day Parade are some of the common experiences shared by many Singaporeans. Have you been curious though, about how people overseas celebrate their respective national days, and how these practices differ from those in Singapore?
In our very own national day special, we bring you short write-ups of unique national celebrations in four other countries.
1. Gwangbokjeol – South Korea
South Korea’s Independence Day, also known as Gwangabokjeol in Korean, is celebrated on 15th August each year, marking the end of Japanese colonial rule.
On this day, an official ceremony is held at either the Sejong Centre for the Performing Arts, or the Independence Hall of Korea, where the liberation song “Gwangbokjeol” is proudly sung to accompany the bright South Korean flags on display on government buildings and public houses.
Flash mob girls showing the strong patriotism of Koreans
Photo Credit: http://ewsiup2013.blogspot.sg/2013/09/south-korea-liberation-day-flash-mob.html
Independence Day is also a day of hope for prisoners, as the President grants special pardons to well-behaved prisoners. In honour of the independence activists, their descendants are allowed free access to all public museums and transport.
2. Bastille Day – France
Independence day is also known as Bastille Day in France, commemorating the end of the French Bourbon monarchy’s tyrannical rule in 1789. On 14th July each year, Bastille Day is celebrated with an obligatory military parade, a practice which is now replicated in many countries including Singapore.
The French also know how to party it up on Bastille Day with their “Fireman Galas” – where the local firemen open the fire stations to the public as makeshift party houses, often attracting partygoers with creative posters.
3. Independence Day – India
Independence Day is held in India on 15th August each year, marking the end of end of British colonial rule with a 21-gun salute and military parade at the Red Fort. Admire brightly-coloured kites dotting the horizon – many Indians enjoy kite-flying on this special day as kites symbolize freedom.
Photo Credit: http://travellingcamera.com
As we travel the world and appreciate the history and cultural practices in National Day celebrations across the world, it is amazing that that national pride and patriotism remains a constant across countries.
4. National Day – People’s Republic of China
Among all the different countries’ national day celebrations, China’s October 1 guoqingjie (National Day) celebrations are arguably among the grandest in the world. Commonly known as the Golden Week, consisting the three legal holidays and connecting weekends, this is the longest holiday period apart from the Spring Festival holidays.
Other than the celebratory activities nationwide, including firework displays and flag-raising ceremonies, the entire nation looks to Tiananmen Square for the impressive military reviews and parades. Apart from the official parade, the common people are also given the opportunity to voice their patriotic feelings, an extremely valuable experience to many Chinese.
National Day celebrations at Tiananmen Square
Photo Credit: http://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/festival/national.htm
Interested in the way other countries celebrate other festivals? Check out our other piece on some of the Most Bizarre Festivals of the World.