India Celebrates its 67th Independence Day

The Republic of India celebrates its 67th Independence Day on 15 August 2013, commemorating another year of being the world’s most populous democracy! India became independent from two centuries of British rule on 15 August 1947.

This new era was heralded in by a historical speech given by the nation’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, at the stroke of midnight. Entitled Tryst with Destiny, this speech is a must-read for both children and adults.

Every year, it is now tradition to hoist the Indian flag on Independence Day and listen to an address to the nation given by India’s current Prime Minister from the Red Fort in the capital, New Delhi. Across the country, people attend flag hoisting ceremonies and social functions in government offices, schools, and community buildings to celebrate Indian Independence Day. Yet, as the years go by, Independence Day has gradually become a holiday just like any other.

Here are a few suggestions to really inspire your children to get into the celebratory spirit.

Indian Independence Day - Children waving flags

Keeping Independence Day Green: Creating a Craft Tradition

Instead of buying all of those tri-coloured flags and lanterns made out of plastic, make Independence Day more memorable for you and your kids with an annual decorative craft-making activity that’s good for the environment, too! Here are two good ideas for crafts you can make with your little ones:

Paper Decorations from Recycled Paper

Materials:

  • Used notebook sheets
  • 15 cm ruler
  • Glue or stapler
  • Sketch-pens, crayons, or paint
  • Straws 

Instructions for Making Paper Chains:

Cut the used paper into rectangles of approximately 2”x 5” and colour an equal number of strips orange, white and green. Then, draw a blue chakra in the middle of each strip. Now glue your first orange strip into a loop, making sure to keep the blue chakra on the outside. Next, take a white strip; loop it through the orange strip (remembering to keep the blue chakra on the outside); and glue the ends together to make a second interlinked loop. Continue to loop and glue in an orange, white, and green sequence. You now have a paper chain that can be used as a window hanging or on your front door or in your child’s room.

Instructions for Making Flags:

Use the colour strips you’ve made above to make a streamer-style flag – simply glue them to a straw, and there we go: you have your own flag ready! While you’re making these decorations, explain the symbolism of the Indian flag to your children. The Indian tricolour, commonly known as the Tiranga, has three main colours – saffron, white, and green – with a blue chakra in the middle.

The saffron colour represents courage; white stands for truth and peace; green for prosperity and the motherland; and finally the 24 spokes of the Ashok chakra represent the Laws of Dharma – righteousness and progress.

Tricolour Rice Dish for Independence Day Celebrations

If you’re looking to create a memorable Independence Day meal, here is an easy, hassle-free recipe for tricolour pulao that will create waves among friends and family.

Orange rice

Ingredients:

  • 3 to 4 carrots (shred in a mixer and squeeze out juice into a cup),
  • 1 pinch saffron powder
  • 2 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ginger garlic paste
  • 1.5 tsp. oil, salt to taste, half a cup of rice, water

Directions:

Sauté the ginger garlic paste in the oil. Add in the red chili powder, carrot juice, saffron powder, and salt to taste. When all the juices start to disappear, add half a cup of rice and a glass of water and leave to cook. Store in a separate container once cooked.

White rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. ginger garlic paste
  • 1 big onion, garam masala (grind 2 cardamom pods, 2 cloves, and 1 inch cinnamon stick into a fine powder)
  • 1.5 tsp. oil, salt to taste
  • half a cup of rice
  • water

Directions:

Sauté ginger garlic paste and onion in the oil. Add the garam masala and salt. Add half a cup of rice and a glass of water, and leave to cook. Store in a separate container once cooked.

Green rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch coriander leaves
  • 3 green chilies
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 3 pods garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 1.5 tsp. oil
  • salt to taste
  • half a cup of rice
  • water

Directions:

Finely chop the coriander leaves, green chilies, onion, ginger and garlic and mix together. Sauté in oil, when the juices start evaporating add the garam masala powder and salt. Add half a cup of rice and a glass of water, and then leave to cook. Store in a separate container once cooked. Optionally, add green food colouring for an intense burst of colour.

Presentation

Take a shallow dish and arrange a pile of green rice at the bottom, white rice in the middle and orange rice at the top. Accompany with boondi raitha, a salad on the side, and/or vegetable gravy with mango pickle.

A Fun Family Day Out: Independence Day Activities

Most national monuments have a flag hoisting ceremony on Independence Day, so take this chance to visit the one in your neighbourhood and explain the significance of the landmark to your children. Another traditional Independence Day activity that your kids will love is kite-flying. Many city parks see kite-flying enthusiasts and club members congregate on Independence Day and Republic Day to celebrate.

Popular areas to watch kite-flying include Azad Maidan in Mumbai, and Nehru Park and Chandni Chowk in New Delhi.

You can even make your own kite and join in! Join the crowd to relive your childhood days and teach your children about the importance of maintaining Indian traditions. You’ll have a great day out and all for less than Rs 50!

Happy 67th Independence Day to all!