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Commonwealth Day 2017

  • The 52 countries of the Commonwealth celebrate Commonwealth Day
  • 2017 marks 40 years since Commonwealth Day became a global celebration marked on the same day every year: on the second Monday in March
  • Share your messages and photos on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtags #Commonwealth4Peace and #CommonwealthDay
  • Schools will take part in a global online debate as part of Commonwealth Class, an initiative of the Commonwealth Secretariat and British Council.
  • The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay launch at Buckingham Palace in London at 1130GMT
  • The Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London at 1445GMT streamed live on the BBC and BBC World Service

Commonwealth Day 2017 celebrations

“We affirm our belief in the Commonwealth as a force for good in the world.” More


Launch of the Queen's Baton Relay at Buckingham Palace


Achaleke Christian Leke Commonwealth Young Person of the Year speaking on the importance of youth in peace building

On Commonwealth Day, the Queen's Baton begins its long journey to Gold Coast Australia and the next Commonwealth Games 

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has set the Gold Coast 2018 Queen’s Baton Relay in motion during a star-studded commencement ceremony today at Buckingham Palace as part of Commonwealth Day celebration. More 

Secretary-General pays tribute to Commonwealth armed forces

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has laid a wreath to remember those who served in the armed forces around the Commonwealth.

The ceremony took place at the Memorial Gates in London on Commonwealth Day.

The Gates were erected to honour the five million men and women from Africa, the Caribbean and the Indian subcontinent who volunteered to serve with the armed forces during the first and second world wars. 

Commonwealth Day Message by Her Majesty the Queen, Head of the Commonwealth

In her Message for Commonwealth Day 2017, the Head of the Commonwealth, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, reflects on this year’s theme of ‘A peace-building Commonwealth’ and the onward journey of The Queen’s Baton Relay. Read more

Message from the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth

Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, in her Message for Commonwealth Day, says it has been uplifting to see, during her first year in office, “the strength of Commonwealth connection flourishing and in action for the benefit of all”.

“Our shared values and language, similar institutions of democratic governance and administration, and the Common Law, make it easy for us to understand one another, to discuss obstacles and opportunities, and to work together for the common good.”

“This results in what we call ‘Commonwealth Advantage’, with the interoperability of our systems facilitating mutual support and cooperation, and boosting levels of trade and commerce among our member states.” Read more

Messages from young people

Young people from across the Commonwealth have been sending in their own messages on this year’s theme. Santhiya Ramadas, 26, a Correspondent from Malaysia, writes that “in a world so engrossed in finding inner-peace, let’s take some time to think about the world we live in and celebrate unity in diversity. Towards a global peace we aim!”

McPherlain Chungu, from Zambia, says “I am excited about the theme of this year’s Commonwealth Day. Upholding democracy, human rights and tolerance in contributing to peace is a necessity. And I think it is important that young people begin and sustain this conversation.

“Democracy does not begin at election campaigns and neither does it end after the casting of a vote. Democracy is an ideal that we must constantly strive for, by seeking accountability, transparency and upholding values of equality, peace, tolerance, human rights and freedom.”

In their own words: How the Commonwealth makes a difference

No-one explains the Commonwealth Secretariat’s role in advancing peace, democracy and development better than the individuals and organisations who experience our work first-hand.

Commonwealth Theme

Fifty-two countries come together today to celebrate Commonwealth Day under the theme ‘A Peace-building Commonwealth’

Download the theme design

Event calendar

Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth
Monday, 13 March 2017, all day

This year over 1,000 individual flag-flying ceremonies are predicted to take place on Commonwealth Day. More information

Commonwealth Day Commemoration at the Memorial Gates
Monday, 13 March 2017, 10:40 GMT

A service of remembrance and the laying of wreaths at the Memorial Gates on Constitution Hill in London.

Launch of The Queens Baton Relay
Monday, 13 March 2017, 11:30 GMT

The Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) has been a traditional curtain raiser to the Commonwealth Games since the Cardiff 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. More information

The Commonwealth Service: A Celebration of the Commonwealth
Monday, 13 March 2017, 15:00 GMT

The Service is the biggest multi-faith celebration in the United Kingdom and takes the form of an hour-long service at Westminster Abbey, London, featuring a mixture of testimonies, readings, hymns and musical performances. The Service is by invitation only. More information

Commonwealth Day Reception 
Monday, 13 March 2017, 18:00 GMT

The Commonwealth Secretary-General hosts a reception attended by representatives of the 52 member countries of the Commonwealth at the Commonwealth Secretariat's headquarters, Marlborough House in London. The evening will commemorate the Commonwealth Theme of 'A Peace-building Commonwealth'. The Reception is by invitation only.

High Commissioners' Banquet
Tuesday, 14 March 2017, 18:30 GMT

Hosted at Guildhall, London, attendees at the dinner will include High Commissioners from the 52 Commonwealth nations, senior figures from the Commonwealth family, and key individuals from the worlds of politics, civil society, business and sport. The Banquet is by invitation only.

Annual Commonwealth Gala Performance and Presentation by the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra & Choirs at Marlborough House
Tuesday, 14 March 2016, 18:30 GMT     

The Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir brings together communities across the Commonwealth through music, transcending cultural, political, social and economic boundaries.

Commonwealth Youth Awards
Wednesday 15 March 2017, 11:00 - 13:00 GMT

The awards recognise outstanding young people under the age of 30 from Commonwealth countries whose work has significantly contributed to local, national, regional and global development. Over 300 nominations were received this year. More information