Saturday 21 January 2023

What Is The Meaning Of the 21-Gun Salute On Republic Day?

It's our 74th year since the first inception of the Indian constitution on 26 January 1950. The day marks celebrations across the country, and we all look forward to the various events at the Rajpath in New Delhi. Our Republic Day processions include multiple events occurring in a particular order year by year with the same finesse and discipline. Each Republic Day celebration event holds its significance and historical backing. One moment that fills our hearts with pride is the 21-gun salute to honor our President of the country and our national flag. 

So, let's understand more about this honor.

What is the significance of the 21-Gun salute?

  • 21-Gun salute is the highest honor given to any person or object on a specific occasion. 
  • This tradition is inherited from the British Empire and is a type of military salute performed by firing cannons or artillery to show the mark of respect. 
  • As President is the Head of State of the Republic of India, they are honored with the 21 Gun salute on several occasions. 
  • The newly elected President of India is honored with a salute minutes after the swearing ceremony. 
  • The Indian National Flag and the President are honored with the 21-gun salute on Independence day and Republic day.

Who performs the 21-gun salute?

  • The centuries-old military salute or mark of respect involves firing artillery or guns. The guns are fired in the air soon after the flag's unfurling. 
  • The time is synchronized with the 52-second-long National anthem by firing 21 cannons at an interval of 2.25 seconds in 3 successive rounds of 7 guns each. 
  • The roaring of the 21 rounds of artillery firing accompanied by our national anthem is the most cherished and proud moment of the Republic Day celebrations at the red fort. 
  • Seven cannons of the elite 2281 Field Regiment at Delhi Cantonment perform the well-coordinated gun salute.

Evolution of 21 gun salute:

  • This tradition of honor dates back to when the British ruled India. 
  • They introduced the gun salute to India, where the number of gun salutes represented the hierarchy of the post. 
  • The formal ranking of individuals and states was created by the Britishers and entitled each one to a particular number of gun salutes.

Historical backing of 21 gun salute:

  • Artillery firing was a naval tradition around the 16th century to show that they did not intend to harm before their ships touched any foreign shore. 
  • Even before the coastline was out of sight, the vessel used to fire all its cannons. As reloading the artillery was very time-consuming; it alerted the coastal defenders about the approaching ship and gave them sufficient time to destroy it if they wished to. 
  • But firing the cannons primarily signified the peaceful intent of the approaching ship.

Where did the no. 21 come from?

  • The British navy ships used to carry seven cannons each as odd numbers were considered lucky by the sailors as per some superstition. 
  • Some also chose the number 7 as it holds significance in the Bible.
  • The naval ships used to fire their seven cannons, and in response to this, the coastal defense used to fire three guns for each of the seven cannons taking the total number to 21. 
  • Firing from the land showed that they welcomed the ship and did not intend to harm either. Thus this was a mechanism to communicate each other's peaceful intent.

Besides Republic Day, the swearing-in of the honorable President of India, guns are fired when a foreign Head-of-State visits the country.

So this is what the booming of the 21 rounds of artillery signifies. 

Republic Day reminds us about the rules of our constitution. The rules are not made to bind someone, they give us the proper path to grow and evolve. Let's celebrate the power of rules today and feel proud of our constitution that helped us mold our future and gave us wings to sail in a right direction.

Happy Republic Day !


  1. The meaning Of the 21-Gun Salute has been wonderfully explained here. This indepth article has evertything covered. There is a lot to learn for the new generation.

  2. Our Constitution has in many ways kept us protected which many don't even know and tbh 21 gun salute one is really good. I fell good to read something new

  3. Wow this is such a lovely article. I had no idea about 21-Gun Salute. This is so cool and thank you for teaching me something new today.

  4. Thank you writing such an insightful article. So enlightening. Glad you mentioned the Constitution of India. I wish all Indians studied the same.

  5. Appreciate you sharing this. More than watching this kind of performance, it's important to understand the meaning behind it. I've learned a lot from this article and know other readers would appreciate it too! - MommyWithAGoal

  6. Interesting article! I had heard of the 21-gun salute but didn't know its significance. Your explained really well. It's amazing to think about the historical and cultural significance behind this tradition. Thanks for sharing this knowledge!

  7. Honestly didnt know the 21 gun salute reason during Independence Day and republic day of India. But since it is a tradition started in Britishers time, and with currrent scenario of overhauling and changing everything british from India, don't you think this will also be changed soon. Do you think it should be changed or kept?

  8. You have explained so well the meaning of 21 gun salute stands for. I am really glad to learn a few things through this post and hope the new generation also learns about it.

  9. This is so informative as there are many of us who still doesn't understand the values and meaning. I will share with my kids about the information.

  10. This is a good information that our kids should be aware about. This is the highest honor . Thanks for sharing the info will share it with my kids for sure.

  11. I never knew the detailed history behind the 21 gun salute. Al I knew was that it was a proud moment as citizen of India. Good to know that age old practice is still being continued now

  12. This is very important to know, every ritual we follow has a meaning and it is important to know them all. Our constitution is most beautiful, only that we don't realise and tend to take it for granted.

  13. This is really an eye opener of a post. I didn't know the story behind these 21 gun salute. And I am sure most of the people in this country would have no idea about its significance. Thank you for enlightening the whole nation by describing it's history and significance.


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