By Bongiwe Zwane-Maseko
The theme for Commonwealth Day 2023 is ‘Forging a sustainable and peaceful common future’.
Speaking about the day, Commonwealth Secretary-General the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland said; “Commonwealth Day is the annual celebration observed by people all over the Commonwealth in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Americas, the Pacific and Europe. This theme signifies the active commitment of member states to collaborate on climate action, support the development of free and democratic societies, and the promotion of peace and prosperity to improve the lives of all Commonwealth citizens.”
Scotland added that during this Commonwealth Year of Youth, it focuses efforts on building a better future for the 1.5 billion Commonwealth citizens under the age of 30.
This year, Commonwealth Day will take place on Monday 13 March, and will be the start of a series of events and activities to take place across the world during the week, including faith and civic gatherings, debates, school assemblies, flag-raising ceremonies, and cultural events.
This year also sees Commonwealth member states supporting the Commonwealth of Nations Flag for Peace initiative which was launched last year in December. Flags for Peace symbolise the shared values and principles of the Commonwealth and will be shared with every Commonwealth nation.
Every city in the UK will also receive a flag that they can choose to raise following short ceremonies on Commonwealth Day. Some ceremonies will include a Commonwealth Proclamation to be read by Town Criers, accompanied by fanfares, pipers, and cathedral or church bells later that evening.
In London, where the Commonwealth Secretariat headquarters are based, on 13 March there will be a multicultural, multi-faith service at Westminster Abbey drawing together testimonies, performances, and readings from throughout the Commonwealth.
The event will feature a procession of Commonwealth flags, with young flag bearers representing each of the 56 nations of the Commonwealth.
Commonwealth Day 2023 marks the tenth anniversary of the signing of the Commonwealth Charter, which was signed by Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 11 March 2013 and outlines the values and aspirations which unite the Commonwealth.
This will be the first Commonwealth Day since Her Majesty’s passing, and the first presided over by His Majesty King Charles III as King and Head of the Commonwealth.
By Bongiwe Zwane-Maseko