Republic Day is one of three national holidays in India and is the celebration of the Constitution of India. Government offices, post offices, schools and most businesses are closed on this day.
India became independent from British rule in 1947 but, at that stage, had no formal constitution. On 24 January 1950, after nearly three years of deliberations, the Constitution of India was signed. Two days after this on 26 January the Constitution came into effect across India.
On Republic Day, a grand military parade is held in New Delhi. It begins at the Raisina Hill in the neighborhood of the majestic Rashtrapati Bhawan and passes along the Rajpath ending at India Gate. The prime minister unfurls the National flag then lays a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti and presents medals and awards for bravery to soldiers and civilians. The prime minister always has a foreign head of state as a special guest at the ceremony.
A 21-gun salute and military flypast add to the New Delhi celebrations along with colourfully decorated elephants that ride past spectators and carry children who have received the National Bravery Award.
Other ceremonies occur across India presided over by state governors. All the celebrations across India on this day are colourful and joyous events with many opportunities for children to showcase their costumes and cultural dancing skills.
It is a day for many happy festivities and these include very good meals. Some of the favourite foods for Republic Day in India are Tricolor Pulao Rice, Saffron Biryani, Boondi Laddu, Kesaria-Hara Paneer Tikka and of course sweets for the children.
The Republic Day celebrations end three days later on the evening of 29 January with a military celebration that includes the beating of the retreat and is performed by the bands of the three wings of the military, the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force.