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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 enormously from country to country. For example, Spain's National Day is held on October 12, the day celebrated in other countries as Columbus Day and Día de la Raza, and commemorates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas. A military parade is held in Madridmarker celebrating the occasion. In France National Day is 14 July and is known as the Fête nationale (known outside of France as Bastille Day). 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-Élyséesmarker of Paris. In the United States, the Fourth of July celebrations are widely celebrated with parades, fireworks, picnics and barbecues. In the Republic of Irelandmarker, St. Patrick's Day, 17 March, has been the National Day and a Public Holiday for many years, and in recent years it has been observed as a full Public Holiday in Northern Irelandmarker too. However, in the rest of 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 Parliamentmarker passed the St Andrew's Day Bank Holiday 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 Jamaicamarker, which celebrates its National Day on the first Monday in August. This commemorates independence from the United Kingdom which was attained on Monday, 6 August 1962 - the first Monday in August of that year. Another example is Thailandmarker which celebrates the birthday of the King on 5 December. This date will change on the accession of the heir to the throne.

List of National Days

: 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
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  • Zambiamarker 24 October (Independence Day, declaration of independence from the United Kingdom 1964)
  • Zimbabwemarker 18 April (Independence Day, declaration of independence from the United Kingdom 1980 (it had been unilaterally declared independent as Rhodesia already in 1965)


See also

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