National Day

National Day
Independence or Death, famous painting from Pedro Américo that celebrates the Independence Day of Brazil.

The National Day is a designated date on which celebrations mark the nationhood of a nation or non-sovereign country. This nationhood can be symbolized by the date of independence, of becoming republic or a significant date for a patron saint or a ruler (birthday, accession, removal, etc.). Often the day is not called "National Day" but serves and can be considered as one. The National Day will often be a national holiday.

Some countries have more than one National Day. For example, Pakistan has three National Days, none of which is named the ”National Day”. This signals the use of a ”class” of National Days, that are equally important in the foundation of the nation, and a ”class” of less important official public holidays.

Importance attached to the National Day as well as the degree to which it is celebrated vary greatly from country to country. For example, Spain's National Day is held on 12 October, the day celebrated in other countries as Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, and commemorates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas.[1] A military parade is held in Madrid celebrating the occasion.[1] National Day in France is 14 July and known as the Fête nationale (known outside of France as Bastille Day) commemorating the Storming of the Bastille,[2] which is considered the start of the French Revolution.[3] It is widely celebrated and the French Tricolour is much in evidence, while the President of the Republic attends a military parade on the Champs-Élysées of Paris. In the United States, the Independence Day celebrations on 4 July are widely celebrated with parades, fireworks, picnics and barbecues. In Ireland, St. Patrick's Day, 17 March, has been the National Day and a Public Holiday for many years. However, in the United Kingdom the constituent countries' patron saints' days are low-key affairs. In recent times campaigns have commenced to promote the National Days of England, Scotland and Wales, with St Andrew's Day being designated as an official bank holiday when the Scottish Parliament passed the St Andrew's Day Bank Holiday (Scotland) Act 2007. A National Day for the United Kingdom has also been proposed in recent years.

Most countries have a fixed date National Day, but some have movable dates. An example here is Jamaica, which up to 1997 celebrated its National Day on the first Monday in August. This commemorated independence from the United Kingdom which was attained on Monday, 6 August 1962, the first Monday in August of that year. Another example is Thailand which celebrates the birthday of the king on 5 December. This date will change on the accession of the heir to the throne.

Most national days can be categorized in two large blocks:

  • Newer countries that celebrate their national day as the day of their independence.
  • Older countries that use some other event of special significance as their national day.

Denmark and the UK are among the few countries which do not have designated national days.

List of National Days

  Independence-related National Day
  Revolution or Unification-related National Day
  No official National Day
Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z
See also





  • Democratic Republic of Congo 30 June (Independence from Belgium in 1960)
  • Denmark (no official National Day) 5 June (Constitution of 1849)
  • Djibouti 27 June (Independence from France 1977)
  • Dominica 3 November (Independence from the United Kingdom 1978 (discovered by Christopher Columbus 1493))
  • Dominican Republic 27 February (independence from Haiti 1844), 16 August (Restoration Day, independence from Spain 1865)








  • Kazakhstan 25 October (Republic Day, declared sovereign republic within the USSR 1990)
  • Kenya 12 December (Independence Day, from the United Kingdom 1963; Republic Day, (Jamhuri Day), 1964)
  • Kiribati 12 July (Independence from the United Kingdom in 1979)
  • North Korea 9 September (declaration of a democratic people's republic 1948)
  • South Korea 15 August (both the liberation from Japanese rule 1945 (Gwangbokjeol) and the declaration of the South Korean state 1948) and 3 October (Gaecheonjeol, the ancient Korea founded in 2333 BC)
  • Kurdistan 21 March (Nawroz, Kurdish New Year celebrated on the spring equinox)
  • Kuwait 25 February (National Day) (26 February is Liberation Day, from Iraq 1991)
  • Kyrgyzstan 31 August (Independence Day, declaration of independence from the USSR in 1991)
  • Kosovo 17 February (see 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence)












  • Vanuatu 30 July (Independence Day, from the United Kingdom and France 1980)
  • Vatican City 24 April (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is inaugurated as the 265th Pope 2005)
  • Venezuela 5 July (Independence Day, declaration of independence from Spain 1811)
  • Vietnam 2 September (National Day, declaration of independence from France and Japan 1945)




  • Zambia 24 October (Independence Day, declaration of independence from the United Kingdom 1964)
  • Zimbabwe 18 April (Independence Day, declaration of independence from the United Kingdom 1980; it had previously declared independence as Rhodesia in 1965)

See also

Calendar icon.svg Holidays portal


  • Flags by Louis, a blog about flags updated daily to show different national days


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