Republic Day is celebrated every year on 26 January to commemorate the date and moment when the Constitution of India came into effect. Although India attained independence on 15 August 1947, till 1949 it did not have a permanent constitution of its own and was instead functioning under the laws enacted and implemented by the British. After many amendments, the Constitution was approved and accepted on 26 November 1949 and came into force in a full-fledged manner from 26 January 1950.
India celebrates its Republic Day in colourful and exciting ways. To mark Republic Day in a memorable and significant way, every year in New Delhi, the capital of India, a grand parade is held that starts from the Raisina Hill in the neighbourhood of the majestic Rashtrapati Bhavan which passes along the Rajpath and ends at India Gate. The President, Prime Minister and other high-ranking officials of India are present at the Rajpath to celebrate the occasion.
The President unfolds the National Flag as the National Anthem is played and addresses the nation with the Republic Day speech. Furthermore, the Republic Day parade includes march pasts, lively displays and floats exhibiting India's rich and colourful culture as well as bringing together the entire nation. The parade concludes with the flypast of jets from the Indian Air Force.
On Republic Day, martyrs and heroes who displayed courage and bravery for the country's sake without bothering about their lives are remembered and conferred prestigious and significant awards including Kirti Chakra and Ashok Chakra by the President. Since 1950, India has been inviting guests-high dignitaries of another country-as the State Guest of Honour for the Republic Day celebrations.
Republic Day is celebrated with great enthusiasm not only in New Delhi but also in other states. To observe 26 January and to celebrate its significance, public offices and schools remain closed on the day.
Patriotic fervour of the people is witnessed not only in the programmes and activities but also in the inspirational Republic Day SMS and Republic Day messages. On this day, people send warm Republic Day wishes to their dear ones which lend a festive ambience to the historic occasion. Short and lovely text messages are a wonderful way to spread the importance of Republic Day.
The festivities of Republic Day officially conclude with the intriguing Beating Retreat ceremony on the evening of 29 January. This enthralling ceremony is performed by the military-the Indian Air Force, Indian Navy and Indian Army-in Raisina Hills, New Delhi, before the President of India as the Chief Guest.