Gibraltar’s National Day, often called Gibraltar Day, takes place each year on 10 September. It looks back to the referendum in 1967 in which the people of Gibraltar chose to remain a UK territory rather than become a part of neighbouring Spain.
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However, the referendum also involved gaining a large degree of self-determination for Gibraltar. There was opposition to this move both from the British government and from Spain. But the voice of the people was ultimately heard and respected in the matter.
The celebrations open each year with a children’s fancy dress competition in Gibraltar’s parliament house. Next on the agenda is a gigantic street party held in John Mackintosh Square. A school choir then sings patriotic songs, followed by the city mayor’s giving out of awards and recitation of the Gibraltar National Day Declaration.
Thousands of red and white balloons have been traditionally released from Parliament building on Gibraltar Day. The number of balloons is made to roughly equal the current population of Gibraltar. However, in recent years, concern over the balloon release’s effect on wildlife has brought this tradition’s longevity into question.
Also, there are kid events with bouncy castles and other games, family reunions, concerts, fireworks displays, and many other festive events that take place on National Day.
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