Beating Retreat Ceremony: What It Is & Why It Marks The Culmination Of Republic Day Celebrations

This elaborate and captivating event takes place on the evening of January 29th, three days after Republic Day.

by Tejashee Kashyap
Beating Retreat Ceremony: What It Is & Why It Marks The Culmination Of Republic Day Celebrations

Do you know India hosts a grand military tradition that marks the official conclusion of the Republic Day celebrations? Yes, it is the day of The Beating Retreat Ceremony. This elaborate and captivating event takes place on the evening of January 29th, three days after Republic Day on January 26th.

The Significance Of This Event

The Beating Retreat Ceremony began in the 16th century when soldiers would stop fighting at dusk. The regimental guards then lowered the flag. This custom developed into a more formal ceremony over time and finally became a crucial component of India’s Republic Day festivities.

One of the Beating Retreat Ceremony’s distinguishing aspects is the involvement of the Indian Armed Forces’ three wings: the Army, Navy, and Air Force. The celebration will also include the attendance of the President of India, who serves as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

While the January 26 events are larger in scale, the Beating Retreat, which concludes the Republic Day celebrations, also features synchronised marches, notable musical pieces, and other activities. The Armed Forces of the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and other countries also have such ceremonies.

The earliest known instance of this may have occurred in England in the 17th century when King James II gave the command for his soldiers to organize a parade, lower flags, and beat drums to signal the conclusion of a combat day. One bullet from the evening gun was fired, and then the ceremonial, known as “watch setting,” began at dusk.

Also Read: Why Does Kartavya Path Become The Stage For Republic Day Parade Every Year? Here’s All About It

India’s Beating Retreat Ceremony 2024

All Indian songs will be played at the Beating Retreat event, which concludes Republic Day celebrations, at Vijay Chowk in the nation’s capital on Monday night. The ceremony will start with the “shankhnaad” tune, which sounds like blowing a conch. As the sun sets over Raisina Hills, President Droupadi Murmu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, members of his Cabinet, and others will watch the musical ceremony. 31 enthralling and foot-tapping Indian songs will be performed by the music bands of the Indian Army, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).

It honours a centuries-old military tradition. The ritual evokes nostalgia. So, are you going to watch this colourful and melodious ceremony?

Cover image credits: X/Narendra Modi