On May 24th 1958, Empire Day was renamed Commonwealth Day in Great Britain.  The idea of an Empire Day had been considered as early as 1897, however the first celebration didn’t take place until May 24th 1902.  Queen Victoria had died the previous year, so Empire Day was celebrated on her birthday.   It wasn’t officially recognised as an annual event until 1916 though, but many schools across the British Empire were celebrating it before then.


The idea behind the day was to “remind children that they formed part of the British Empire, and that they might think with others in lands across the sea, what it meant to be sons and daughters of such a glorious Empire.”, and that “The strength of the Empire depended upon them, and they must never forget it.”

As the Commonwealth of Nations grew over time, the celebration was rebranded as Commonwealth Day to reflect the changing nature of the British Empire. Commonwealth Day is now celebrated on the second Monday in March and is marked by ceremonies and events throughout the Commonwealth.