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Independence Day
Maldives

Independence Day 2017 and 2018

Every July 26th, Maldives celebrates its complete independence.

YearDateDayHoliday
201726 JulWedIndependence Day
201826 JulThuIndependence Day

This celebration highlights parades held by the National Security Services as well as the National Cadet Corps and other performances by colourfully dressed school children.

The History Behind Independence Day in Maldives

Southwest of Sri Lanka and just north of the Equator is the country of Maldives, a conglomerate of islands under the same flag. Maldives, like many countries around the world, used to be held under the power of the British Empire. It wasn’t until 1887 that Maldives managed to become a British Protectorate. All this status did for Maldives was keep the British from interfering with their internal affairs. However, should Maldives want to do anything foreign, the British had to be consulted before action could be taken. In return for Maldives’s cooperation, the British promised to protect the country. Finally, on July 26th, 1965, Maldives was able to gain full independence.

Independence for Maldives was significant because it enabled the country to seize control over its own economy and develop itself as it pleased. When the Prime Minister Ibrahim Nasir signed the agreement for independence with the British, the population in Maldives was merely 97,743. Both Sri Lanka and India, nearby countries under the same colonial power, had managed to gain independence from Britain at the conclusion of the World War. Maldives was particularly moved to seek this independence after three southern atolls were claimed as part of a brief Suvadive Republic between 1959 and 1963. Within two months of being granted this independence, Maldives gained membership at the United Nations (September 21, 1965). The country’s flag was then raised at the headquarters on the 12th of October 12, 1965.

How to Celebrate Independence Day in Maldives

If you were to visit Maldives in July, you would be promised a show on the 26th. Every year, the country celebrates its Independence Day with a series of festivities held in on the island of Male’. The entire country is very much connected through a series of ferries, and most events you can expect to encounter on Independence Day will be held at Republic Square in the heart of the Male’ Island. Here are a few things that are promised each year during these festivities at the Square:

  • A series of festivities led by the National Security Services
  • Parades also lead by the National Cadet Corps
  • A variety of performances done by school children who are dressed in very colourful costumes

Although the country is not very large or populated, and although the island Male’ is even smaller, these festivities are a regular show come Independence Day in Maldives. You can bank on seeing a number of performances by the local youth as well as the parades led by a variety of groups. One of the favorite instruments of the Maldivians is a bulbul, an instrument that is similar to an accordion but which is held horizontally. There is also the Bodu Beru, or “Big Drum”, which has possible African roots. This is an interesting bit of culture as most of the Maldivian language and lifestyle seems to be derived from a North Indian origin. Exposure to this festive side of the culture in Maldives on Independence Day is a rapid way to learn what it’s like to be Maldivian.

If you plan to be traveling in this corner of the world during the summer, stopping in Maldives to see the Independence Day festivals and parades at Republic Square will surely be a good use of your time!