Much like in July, many countries celebrate their independence during the month of August, but it’s sad to see that freedom does not always come, and in any case stay, with that independence. Click on any event below to learn more about it.
- 1 August – Swiss National Day – Switzerland
Switzerland’s National Day date comes from the Federal Charter of 1291, which took place in “early August” that year when three Alpine cantons swore an oath of confederation, eventually leading to the founding of Switzerland.
- 5 August – Victory Day – Croatia
It’s on this day in 1995 that the Croatian army captured the city of Knin from the Republic of Serbian Krajina, which would end the War of Independence from Yugoslavia. Today, this national holiday also honors all veterans.
- 6 August – Independence Day – Jamaica
Much like the UK which ‘brexited’ from the EU last month despite David Cameron’s best efforts, the Colony of Jamaica withdrew from the West Indies Federation on this day in 1962 while under the leadership of Chief Minister Norman Manley who had called for a referendum on the issue although he was opposed to it.
- 9 August – National Day – Singapore
Fireworks displays and an annual parade are among the many festivities celebrated on Singapore’s National Holiday. This date commemorates the day in 1965 when Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman of Malaysia aimed to end the ongoing racial tension and riots between Chinese and native Malays by expelling Singapore from the federation of Malaysia.
- 12 August – Her Majesty Queen’s Birthday – Thailand
Known as the Mother of all Thai people, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit is the consort of the world’s longest reigning head of state. In 1976, Mother’s Day was befittingly changed to coincide with her birthday! Candle lighting ceremonies and fireworks displays take place throughout the country, but especially in Bangkok, the country’s capital.
- 14 August – Independence Day – Pakistan
This National Holiday in Pakistan commemorates the night in 1947 when British India granted self-governance to the Dominion of Pakistan. The transfer of power, which took place on the 14th at midnight, coincides with the 27th day of Ramadan, making it especially sacred. Read Freedom at Midnight for more details!
- 15 August – Assumption – Christians Worldwide
Due to its importance to many Catholic and Orthodox Christians, the “Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven” is a nationwide public holiday around the world, but mainly in Europe and Africa. It is one the 11 legal holidays in France. Who knew there were only eleven?
- 15 August – San Martin’s Day – Argentina
The third Monday of August celebrates the death of José Francisco de San Martín who is considered the founding father of Argentina. Along with Simón Bolívar, San Martín is responsible for liberating South America from Spanish rule.
- 15 August – Independence Day – India
On the 15th of August, 1947, India gained its independence from the British Empire, then separated into two parts, the Dominions of India and Pakistan. This scission along religious lines gave rise to riots, mass casualties, and the displacement of huge populations due to sectarian violence.
- 15 August – Liberation Day – Korea
Although known by two different names, “the day the light returned” (Gwangbokjeol) in South Korea and “Liberation of the Fatherland Day” (Chogukhaebangŭi nal) in North Korea, this day commemorates the liberation of the Korean peninsula from Imperial Japanese rule.
- 17 August – Independence Day – Indonesia
On this day in 1945, the Indonesian Independence movement declared the beginning of diplomatic and armed resistance to the Netherlands, a date which was not officially recognized by the Dutch until 2005! Today, the Proclamation is proudly printed on the 100,000 Indonesian rupiah banknote.
- 24 August – Independence Day – Ukraine
Although the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine was issued in July of 1990, Ukraine would not officially celebrate its independence until the Declaration was issued one year later. The Ukrainian flag, two horizontal bands of yellow and blue, is prominently displayed countrywide along with parades, festivals, and sporting events.
- 29 August – National Heroes Day – Philippines
On the last Monday of August, the people of the Philippines celebrate and honor their men and women who have shown themselves to be heroes of their country. Most workers nationwide celebrate with a day off to enjoy parades, wreath-laying ceremonies, fireworks displays, and some time with their loved ones.
- 30 August – Victory Day – Turkey
Also known as Armed Forces Day, this national holiday celebrates the decisive victory over the Greeks in the Battle of Dumlupınar, thus ending the Greco-Turkish war in 1922. This day also honors Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey as a secular republic in 1928. The main festivities and ceremonies are held at the mausoleum of Atatürk. Until when is anybody’s guess.