Republic Day is India's great national festival. The Constitution of India has been in effect since January 26, 1950, a date celebrated annually as Republic Day in India. It is a national holiday in India. To mark the importance of this occasion, It is celebrated every year on January 26, in New Delhi with great pomp and pageant and in capitals of the States, as well as at other headquarters and important places with patriotic fervor. The whole nation comes together every year on January 26 to salute the sacrifices and struggles of freedom activists and those who participated in building India's constitution.
It was the Lahore Session of the Indian National Congress at midnight of December 31, 1929 - January 1, 1930, that the Tri-Colour Flag was unfurled by the nationalists and a pledge taken that every year on January 26, the "Independence Day" would be celebrated and that the people would unceasingly strive for the establishment of a Sovereign Democratic Republic of India.
The professed pledge was successfully redeemed on January 26, 1950, when the Constitution of India framed by the Constituent Assembly of India came into force, although the Independence from the British rule was achieved on August 15, 1947. It is because of this that August 15 is celebrated as Independence Day, while January 26 as Republic Day.
To mark the importance of this occasion, every year a grand parade is held in the capital, from the Raisena Hill near the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President's Palace), along the Rajpath, past India Gate and on to the historic Red Fort. The different regiments of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force march past in all their finery and official decorations. The President of India who is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, takes the salute. Patriotic songs are played. Floats (Jhaanki) from all states with colorful vibrancies are displayed. There are cultural performances by the students and professionals. The winners of the gallantry awards also take part in the parade in open jeeps. Kids, who have won National Bravery Awards, join the parade sitting on elephants. Indian Air Force helicopters fly past the parade showcasing their stunts and showering rose petals on the audience beneath.
In many schools colleges and government organizations, the national flag is hoisted early in the morning; followed by cultural programs.
In the States, the Governors take the salute, and in Taluqas and administrative headquarters on same procedure is adopted. At Vijay Chowk in New Delhi, three days later (i.e. 29th January) the massed bands of the Armed Forces "Beat the Retreat" in a majestic manner.
The Republic Day celebrations have rightly become world famous as one of the greatest shows on earth drawing thousands of eager sight-seers from all over the country and many parts of the world. No other country can draw on such a wealth of tribal traditions and cultures, so many regional forms of dances and dress. And, no other country in the world can parade so many ethnically different people in splendid uniforms as India's Armed Forces. But they are all united in their proven loyalty to the Government elected by the people and in their proud traditions and legendary gallantry.
National awards (Maha Veer Chakra, Ashok Chakra, Param Veer Chakra, Veer Chakra) and bravery medals are also distributed at this day to the soldiers of armed forces, common people and students from the school.