Monday, March 12, 2018

Commonwealth Day

Parliament Square on Commonwealth Day
Celebrating the Commonwealth.
On the morning of Monday March 11, 2013, my eldest daughter, Alysha, had the honour of performing a dance at Westminster Abbey, in front of Royalty, for Commonwealth Day.

As I wasn't permitted inside, I spent the morning soaking up the atmosphere, and plenty of coffee, as the temperature was hovering just above freezing. Suffice to say that I while I struggled to keep warm, my daughter was inside Westminster Abbey, dancing in front of royalty, dignitaries and celebrities.

Brief History

The first Empire Day took place on May 24, 1902, although it wasn't instituted in the United Kingdom, and the rest of the Commonwealth, until 1905.

By the early 1920s Empire Day had become a massive event that included school parades, all of which was now being shown by the BBC. In 1925, 90,000 people attended a thanksgiving service at Wembley Stadium.

Harold Macmillan announced to Parliament, in 1958, that Empire Day would be renamed Commonwealth Day.

With the exception of the United Kingdom and a few other countries, Commonwealth Day is a public holiday, although it is not statutory. It is more of a day of observance, which is celebrated by a billion people, in 52 countries.

Commonwealth Day was unified, across the Commonwealth, to the second Monday in March and is marked by a service in Westminster Abbey, which is attended by Commonwealth High Commissioners, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, members of the Royal family and other dignitaries.

Queen Elizabeth II, as Head of the Commonwealth, attends and delivers a speech, which is broadcast around the world.

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