Commonwealth Day

Commonwealth Day Quick Facts - CA

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2021 DateMarch 8, 2021
2022 DateMarch 14, 2022
Commonwealth Day

Commonwealth Day History

Commonwealth Day seeks to raise awareness about issues in the Commonwealth. This day aims to unite the Commonwealth member countries around the world to address global issues. It hopes to promote international co-operation and work toward the betterment of the Commonwealth and its more than 2 billion people. This day also aims to promote the core values of its 53 representative countries.

In 1931, the former British colonies of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa decided to join Britain in the creation of the Commonwealth of Nations. Throughout the 20th century, as more and more nations gained independence from Britain, their new leaders also opted to join the Commonwealth of Nations, further diversifying the religious, racial, social, and political makeup of the Commonwealth. Today, all member countries of the Commonwealth, regardless of size, wealth, race, or religion, have an equal say in shaping the Commonwealth. Commonwealth Day was established in 1977. It is observed annually on the second Monday in March.

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Commonwealth Day Facts & Quotes

  • The theme for Commonwealth Day in 2021 was Delivering a Common Future.
  • Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia are the oldest-standing members of the Commonwealth. They all joined in 1931. Canada is the largest member at nearly 10 million sq.km.
  • The 53 members of the Commonwealth span the entire globe. Some nations are realms which means that the Queen is Sovereign. Others are monarchies which means they have their own monarch as Head of State and some are independent Republics.
  • Membership in the Commonwealth is entirely voluntary, meaning that any member can withdraw from the Commonwealth at any given time. Only two countries have ever withdrawn: the Republic of Ireland in 1949 and more recently, Zimbabwe in 2003.
  • But the Commonwealth’s strength lies as much in people as it does in values. Few other global organizations can boast the same rich diversity of humankind and yet also such a commonality of spirit. The Commonwealth can be proud of the fact that in each of its six decades, it has shaped the international response to emerging global challenges - Queen Elizabeth II

Commonwealth Day Top Events and Things to Do

  • Every Commonwealth Day, the Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II, delivers a message to the people that is broadcast throughout the Commonwealth of Nations. Watch this broadcast on local television or on YouTube.
  • The Commonwealth hosts a multi-faith observance at Westminster Abbey in London, England. During this observance, the Commonwealth's major religions are recognized under the same roof. Organize your own multi-faith observance in your local community.
  • Watch the movie Invictus (2009) starring Morgan Freeman, or Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013). These movies touch on old racist policies in South Africa and address a problem which forced the country to leave the Commonwealth in 1961.
  • Spend a few hours looking through online Census records and conducting research about your ancestors. Perhaps they were born in a different Commonwealth nation and history brought them to your current country.

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