Commonwealth Day

Commonwealth Day Quick Facts

Hashtags:#CommonwealthDay, #Commonwealth
2019 Date:March 11, 2019
2020 Date:March 9, 2020
Commonwealth Day

Commonwealth Day History

Commonwealth Day serves to promote Commonwealth issues and core values. On the second Monday of March, Commonwealth member countries around globe unite to in an effort to promote global issues, international co-operation, and the Commonwealth's work to better the lives of over 2 billion people in its 53 member countries, the majority of which were once under British rule.

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 their 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 of tomorrow. Since 1977, Commonwealth Day has been celebrated on the second Monday in March of every year with a special theme. The theme for Commonwealth Day 2016 is  'An Inclusive Commonwealth'.

Commonwealth Day Facts & Quotes

  • 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. India is the most populous member with over one billion inhabitants while Nauru is the smallest member, with a mere 13,000 people.
  • The 53 members of the Commonwealth span the entire globe. Some nations are realms, meaning that The Queen is Sovereign, others are Monarchies, meaning they have their own monarch as Head of State, while others 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 Only two countries have ever withdrawn: the Republic of Ireland in 1949 and more recently, Zimbabwe in 2003.
  • The Commonwealth makes the world safe for diversity. - Nelson Mandela
  • 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 You Tube.
  • 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.
  • Think about ways that you can have an impact on the Commonwealth based on this year's theme An Inclusive Commonwealth. Some ideas include, doing something as a whole family, including new people into your friend circle or visiting an old age home to brighten a senior's day.
  • Watch the movie Invictus (2009) starring Morgan Freeman or Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2103). These movies touch on old racist policies in South Africa,  a problem which forced the country to leave the Commonwealth in 1961.
  • Spend a few hours scouring through online Census records and conducting genealogy 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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