National Day 2017 and 2018
National Day in Monaco is also known as Sovereign Prince Day. Currently, the holiday is celebrated on November 19, but the date is chosen by the reigning prince.
|2017||19 Nov||Sun||National Day|
|20 Nov||Mon||National Day Holiday|
|2018||19 Nov||Mon||National Day|
History of National Day
The first National Day was celebrated on May 16, 1734, a date chosen by Honore III. In 1854, Prince Charles III changed the date to November 4 which is the day Patron Saint Charles is celebrated. In keeping with the tradition, Prince Albert changed the date to November 15 after he began his reign in 1890. The tradition of changing the date to match the patron saint the prince was named after continued until Prince Albert II took the throne. He chose to keep the date as November 19, in honour of his father, Prince Ranier III. The day is designed to celebrate Monaco’s independence as a sovereign nation.
Traditions and Celebrations
Since 1871, the Prince and his family have participated in many celebrations designed to celebrate National Day. There is normally a parade and salute on the palace grounds. The holiday is marked by much pomp and circumstance. Knights of Malta, ambassadors and government leaders often wear official uniforms during the celebrations.
There is significant national pride on National Day with many people waving the flag of Monaco as they watch parades or participate in festivals.
Te Deum and a thanksgiving mass are held at St. Nicholas Cathedral the day after National Day in order to celebrate the Royal family’s Catholic faith. Roman Catholic is the state religion although freedom of religion is guaranteed by Monaco’s population. For this reason, Catholicism plays an important part in many of the traditions practiced during holidays.
Many festivals and celebrations are held throughout Monaco, ending with a fireworks display on the port at night. It is also a day set aside to help the less fortunate. Many spend the day distributing parcels to the sick and elderly.
Solidarity with France
In 2015, National Day was a more subdued affair than in past years due to terror attacks in Paris. Fireworks displays were cancelled and flags were flown at half-mast on official buildings in recognition of the attacks which took place on November 13, 2015. At least 130 people died in the attacks with hundreds more wounded when attackers, armed with assault rifles and explosives targeted six locations across Paris. ISIS claimed responsibility for the assault.