5 Countries Who Gained Independence from the British and How They Celebrate


Unless you live under a rock, everyone knows that Sri Lanka was not the only country under the British colonialists, who ultimately managed to gain independence. In fact, one fifth of the world’s population were under British rule in 1922! There were pros and cons to this empire, but many countries valued their own sovereignty and most fought their way to freedom. So of course, there’s plenty of reason to celebrate. Let’s look at how some countries around the world go enjoying their freedom.

  1. Sri Lanka
    Well, of course we must start off with the homeland. Sri Lanka obtained independence on the 4th of February 1948, and we are celebrating our 67th year of independence in 2015 with a celebration at the administrative capital of Sri Lanka, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte. Needless to say, it is a very important national holiday, and citizens usually start showing their patriotism by displaying the national flag from buildings, vehicles and in public places. Fallen heroes are remembered. The celebration consists of a parade, military and civil display and pageants in the main cities as well as flag hoisting ceremonies in Sri Lankan Embassies all over the world. Many Sri Lankans stay at home to watch the parade in the morning on the television, and the President’s address is always looked forward to as an uplifting statement of being Sri Lankan, no matter what the race or religion.
  2. United States of America
    It might surprise many to learn that the USA was ever ruled by anyone, but the British did! Of course, they managed to gain independence from Great Britain in 1776, much before Sri Lanka did. The 4th of July is a very colourful holiday for all Americans, and is celebrated with patriotic displays and family events like picnics and barbeques (yum) throughout the country. Fireworks displays are also very popular, and media stations do huge televised displays to add to the holiday atmosphere. Everyone dresses up in blue, white and red, with decorations everywhere. The Statue of Liberty is a national symbol of independence.
  3. India
    It was our big brother who paved the way for us to gain independence, as India gained independence on the 15th of August, 1947, the year before we did. In a country with over a billion people, you know it’s going to be a big celebration. School children practice for weeks before the event to put on colorful dance displays, people paint their faces with the national colours green white and orange, and the Prime Minister delivers a speech to the country. Homage is paid at the war memorials to those who lost their lives in the fight for freedom, and many parades and even marching competitions are held throughout the country.
  4. 4. Jamaica
    Jamaica gained independence from British occupation on the 6th of August 1962. The birth of this new Jamaica was arguably the most important occurrence in the history of the country, and Jamaicans celebrate by reflecting on the sacrifices that had to be made to gain this great milestone. It is a day of grand celebration in Jamaica, with everyone dressing up in ethnic costumes and holding many parades, while at the same time commemorating fallen heroes.
  5. 5. Qatar
    Although Qatar obtainded independence on the 3rd of September 1971, the government decreed in 2007 that the occasion should be celebrated on the 18th of December. The new National Day represents a more symbolic moment in history for Qatar – it is the day in 1878 that Sheikh Jassim Bin Mohammad Bin Thani succeeded his father as leader of the tribes of Qatar. There is a parade in the morning, and thousands gather to watch the show. In the afternoon there are light and water shows, followed by a fantastic fireworks display in the evening.

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