Commonwealth Day

Commonwealth Day Quick Facts - CA

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2024 DateMarch 11, 2024
2025 DateMarch 10, 2025

Commonwealth Day

Commonwealth Day in 2024
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Commonwealth Day History

Commonwealth Day celebrates the unity, shared values, and goals of the 54 member countries of the Commonwealth of Nations. As a political association of countries, most of which were formerly territories of the British Empire, the Commonwealth stresses the importance of democracy, human rights, and sustainable development. On this day, member countries engage in various events and activities highlighting their commitment to fostering cooperation, promoting international peace, and improving the well-being of their citizens.

The origin of Commonwealth Day dates back to the early twentieth century when some British dominions, such as Canada, sought to establish a day celebrating their connection with the British Empire. The concept eventually evolved into a broader occasion commemorating the unity of the entire Commonwealth. The observance also serves as a reminder of the country's historical ties to the United Kingdom and its ongoing role in fostering international cooperation and development efforts, particularly in areas such as education and youth empowerment.

In Canada, Commonwealth Day is observed annually on the second Monday of March, aligning with other member countries' chosen dates. Although not a public holiday, Canadians typically mark the occasion through events and activities organized by various governmental, educational, and non-governmental organizations. These may include flag-raising ceremonies, cultural performances, and educational initiatives to raise awareness of the Commonwealth's contributions to global progress.

Top facts about Commonwealth Day

  • The theme for Commonwealth Day in 2024 was One Resilient Common Future: Transforming our Common Wealth.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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 si decades, it has shaped the international response to emerging global challenges - Queen Elizabeth II

Top things to do for Commonwealth Day in Canada

  • 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.
  • The Prime Minister and other public figures often make declarations on this day, celebrating Canada's ongoing commitment to the Commonwealth and its principles.
  • 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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