November 28 is Independence Day in Timor Leste to remember the country’s freedom from Portuguese rule in 1975.
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After centuries of rule by colonial Portugal, Timor Leste declared its independence in 1975. Portugal showed little to no interest in trying to keep its colony, but neighbouring Indonesia took opportunity to promptly invade and annex Timor Leste as its new, 27th province.
The desire for independence never died in Timor Leste, and there was bloody suppression by Indonesia forces at points. But finally, in 2002, the long-fought-for dream of a free East Timor was finally realised.
On the eve of Independence Day, many attend mass at cathedrals in this heavily Roman Catholic nation. On the day itself, there is a presidential inspection of the troops at his palace, followed by a flag-raising ceremony. The soldiers who defend the nation are honoured, and then follows a “party” that lasts till about four in the afternoon. At that point, there is a flag-lowering ceremony to end the festivities.