Sri Lanka celebrates its 72nd Independence Day on 4th February at Independence Square under the theme ‘A Secured Nation – A Prosperous Country’. The event will be presided over by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. An islandwide tree-planting program will also be held to celebrate Independence.
The Independence Day of Sri Lanka is celebrated on the 4th of February to commemorate its independence from British rule in 1948. Independence Day is a national holiday in Sri Lanka. It is celebrated all over the country with flag hoisting ceremonies, dances, parades and performances. The main celebrations usually take place in Colombo where the President raises the national flag and delivers a nationally televised speech. Many national struggles took place in the history of Sri Lanka. And all these are remembered on Independence Day.
For more than a century Sri Lanka was a British crown colony but on February 4, 1948, the country achieved its independence. Don Stephen Senanayake became Sri Lanka’s first Prime Minister. Since the attainment of freedom from British rule, Sri Lanka has enjoyed a stable democracy and steady economic growth in spite of the conflict with a separatist military group, LTTE in recent years. Many struggles were made in the history of Sri Lanka for the cause of freedom. And on Independence Day all of those who fought for this are remembered and celebrated. But the independence movement against the British is especially recalled.
The Independence Day of Sri Lanka is a great national occasion celebrated with parades and pageants combined with the spirit of patriotism and national pride. The celebrations begin with the hoisting of the national flag and singing of the national anthem, followed by the traditional lighting of the lamp ceremony and the processions begin, complete with meticulously coordinated military parades, firing of canons and various religious and cultural performances, all to paying tribute to the forefathers of the land for their glorious feat. This national day holds much significance for the people of Sri Lanka as it reflects the history of great sacrifices made by Sri Lankans in the attainment of its freedom. It is the day to pay tribute to the Armed Forces that played a major role in the country’s freedom struggle.
A great military parade is also performed. In recent years it showcased the power of the army, navy, air force, police and the civil defence force. And the commitment, bravery, national unity and determination to achieve peace is recollected in the minds of the Sri Lankan people. In the President’s speech, he highlights the achievements of the government during the past year, raises important issues and requests the people to join together in commemorating this historic day. The President also pays tribute to the national heroes of Sri Lanka, observing two minutes of silence in their memory.
There are also singing and performances that showcase national unity and culture. Religious observances are also made in many places of worship around the country, wishing for peace and prosperity for the country, people and the tri-forces. The national media also tries to promote ideas such as bravery, confidence, dedication, national unity, patriotism, nationalism, peace, national responsibility and awareness of national history in the minds of people. Traditionally the Sri Lanka Navy accords a 25 gun salute to the nation from the ceremonial naval gun battery at the Colombo Lighthouse.