Commonwealth Day

Commonwealth Day is celebrated on the second Monday of March each year. The date was chosen at a meeting of Senior Officials in Canberra, Australia in 1976 with a deliberate aim of reaching a young audience; the second Monday in March was chosen so that the majority of schools around the Commonwealth would be in term-time. 1977 marked the first simultaneous Commonwealth Day across the entire Commonwealth.

What is the Commonwealth Service?

Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Commonwealth Service is the world’s premier, inter-faith, public event to celebrate the Commonwealth of Nations and provides an opportunity to focus attention on this voluntary association of 53 countries and their commitment to promoting democracy, human rights, the rule of law and equality for its 2.4 billion citizens. The aim of the Commonwealth Service is to celebrate the unity, diversity, and linkages of the modern Commonwealth and to foster greater understanding of the Commonwealth’s achievements and role, particularly amongst its young people.

The Commonwealth Service takes place in the presence of some 2,000 guests including Her Majesty The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Members of The Royal Family, Commonwealth and UK diplomatic representatives and members of the public, in addition to approximately 800 young people from across the UK.

The Service features a vibrant mixture of testimonies, performances, and readings from different parts of the Commonwealth and is based around the annual Commonwealth theme. Previous contributors have included Sir Richard Branson, Annie Lennox, Ellie Goulding, Lewis Pugh and Nobel Laureates Kofi Annan, Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi. In recent years, the Service has been broadcast live on BBC One, the BBC YouTube channel and covered by the BBC World Service allowing a greater number of Commonwealth citizens across the globe to enjoy this Commonwealth Day celebration.

Find out how to attend