Today, India is celebrating its 73rd Republic Day and the unfurling of the tricolour flag, parades, and cultural functions are held across the country. Interestingly for a long time, I didn’t know on the 26th of January the national flag is unfurled, while on the 15th of August it is hoisted.

Well, on the 15th of August, the flag is kept folded, down at the middle or lower height of the flag pole, and is pulled up at the tip of the pole before it is spread out. This is the hoisting of a flag, which signifies the country was freed after a span of colonial domination.

On the other hand, on the 26th of January the tricolour is unfurled, that is, the flag stays high up at the tip of the flag pole — not at the middle or lower height of the pole — folded, and is spread out with the pull of the rope. This is unfurling of the tricolour. The unfurling signifies that as a flag of a free country, it cannot stay hung at a lower height, but is held high above.

Independence Day is observed as India became independent of British rule on 15th August 1947. Republic Day is celebrated to commemorate the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect on the 26th of January 1950. The Constitution was adopted by the Indian Constituent Assembly on the 26th of November 1949 and came into effect on the 26th of January 1950 with a democratic government system.

The Prime Minister of India hoists the flag on Independence Day as the head of the Central government. This is done since at the time of Independence, the Constitution of India was not in effect and the President who is the constitutional head did not take office. On Republic Day, the President, who is the first citizen of the country, attends the Republic Day official event and unfurls the flag.

Jai Hind! Vande Mataram!

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