Several nations of the world hold an annual Armed Forces Day in honor of their military forces.
In Argentina, the commemorative dates of the Armed Forces are as follows:
17 May : Argentine Navy Day
29 May : Argentine Army Day
10 August : Argentine Air Force Day
Բանակի օր (English: Army Day) is celebrated on 28 January to commemorate the formation of the armed forces of the newly independent Republic of Armenia in 1992.
Australia and New Zealand:
ANZAC Day is a public holiday commemorated on 25 April for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). The date commemorates the landings in 1915 at Anzac Cove by Australian and New Zealand forces, the beginning of the costly Gallipoli campaign.
Silahlı Qüvvələr Günü (English: Day of the Armed Forces) is celebrated on June 26th.
Bangladesh observes Armed Forces Day on 21 November to mark the occasion of the Tri- Services joint operation against occupying Pakistani forces in the Liberation War, 1971. The day starts with laying of a floral wreath at ‘Sikha Anirban’ (Eternal Flame) at Dhaka Cantonment by the President, the Prime Minister and the service chiefs. In the afternoon a reception is held at Senakunja, Dhaka Cantonment where the Prime Minister, ministers, the leader of the opposition and other high civil and military officials attend. In other cantonments, naval bases, and air bases, similar receptions are held. A special TV program Anirban is broadcast on different TV channels the previous evening, and special newspaper supplements are published with national dailies. Receptions are also held by the Prime Minister and the service chiefs for recipients of the gallantry award Freedom Fighter Award. Special meals for family members are served in all military stations. The Armed Forces Division also brings out a special publication with articles related to the War of Independence and the armed forces.
In Brazil, the commemorative dates of the Armed Forces are as follows:
Marinha do Brasil (English: Brazilian Navy):
11 June – Data Magna da Marinha do Brasil (English: Brazilian Navy commemorative day);
13 December – Dia do Marinheiro (English: Sailor’s Day).
Exército Brasileiro (English: Brazilian Army):
19 April – Dia do Exército (English: Brazilian Army commemorative day);
25 August – Dia do Soldado (English: Soldier’s Day).
Força Aérea Brasileira (English: Brazilian Air Force):
23 October – Dia do Aviador (English: Aviator’s Day).
The Day of Bravery is commemorated every year on 6 May, The Feast of Saint George, who is the patron saint of the Bulgarian Army.
In Burma, Tatmadaw Nay (English: Armed Forces Day) is celebrated on 27 March in commemoration of the start of Burmese army’s resistance to Japanese occupation in 1945. Originally, it was not Armed Forces Day, but Resistance Day (Tawhlanyayy Nay in Burmese).
In Canada, Canadian Forces Day is the first Sunday in June and is a celebration of Canada’s armed services, their heritage, and their personnel. Canadian Forces Day is not a public holiday in Canada. … Many individual bases also celebrate an “Armed Forces Day” where part of a base is opened to the public for military demonstrations by various units, including airshows at air bases, and engineering, armored and infantry displays at army bases. The date chosen by base commanders for each base’s Armed Forces Day is typically on a weekend during the summer months.
Fiestas Patrias (Chile):
In Chile, Día de las Glorias del Ejército is a national holiday celebrated every 19 September, a day after the independence day, with the “Parada Militar”, a parade where all the branches of the armed forces display some of their troops and equipment in a special part of “Parque O’Higgins” in Santiago. Several other smaller parades can be seen on other cities of the country, as well as air displays by the air force.
People’s Republic of China:
The Army Day (Chinese: 建军节) is celebrated in the People’s Republic of China on 1 August in commemoration of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army in 1927.
Republic of China:
The Armed Forces Day (Chinese: 軍人節) is celebrated in the Republic of China on 3 September, on the same day as Victory over Japan Day. Pursuant to Article 5 of the Order to Implement Commemoration Days and Holidays (紀念日及節日實施辦法), the Ministry of National Defense (國防部) determines how to allow a day off for the military personnel. This is not a public holiday in Taiwan, but relevant institutions, groups, and schools may hold celebrating activities.
In Croatia, the commemorative dates of the Armed Forces are as follows:
Oružane snage Republike Hrvatske (English: Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia):
28 May – Dan Oružanih snaga Republike Hrvatske (English: Day of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia).
Hrvatska kopnena vojska (English: Croatian Ground Army);
28 May – Dan Hrvatske kopnene vojske (English: Croatian Ground Army Day).
Hrvatska ratna mornarica (English: Croatian Navy);
18 September – Dan Hrvatske ratne mornarice (English: Croatian Navy Day);
Hrvatsko ratno zrakoplovstvo i protuzračna obrana (English: Croatian Air Force and Defense).
12 December – Dan Hrvatskog ratnog zrakoplovstva (English: Croatian Air Force Day).
The Day of the Cuban Armed Forces is celebrated on 2 December to commemorate the landing of the Granma in 1956.
In Egypt, Armed Forces Day is celebrated on 6 October, the date on which the October War of 1973 began with the Egyptian Army’s successful crossing of the Suez Canal that culminated in the capture of the Bar Lev Line.
In Finland, Puolustusvoimain lippujuhlan päivä (English: Day of The Finnish Defense’s Force; literally The Day of the Finnish Defense Force’s flag fest) is celebrated on 4 June, which is the birthday of Marshal of Finland Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim. During 1919–1939 it was called as “Sotaväen lippujuhlan päivä” (The Day of the Finnish Army’s flag fest) and was celebrated on 16th as the Victory Day of Whites. After the Winter War there were no need to maintain the dichotomy of Finnish society and the celebrations of 16 May were ended. During Mannerheim’s 75th birthday the Finnish Government declared that from then on 4 June would officially celebrated as “Suomen marsalkan syntymäpäivä” (The Birthday of Marshal of Finland). Even though the official name of the day changed soon after it is still known, also in official context, as “The Birthday of Marshal of Finland”.
During France’s national day, France honors its armed forces during the military parade of the 14 July, which is the oldest and largest military parade in Europe.
Georgia marks its Armed Forces Day (Georgian: შეიარაღებული ძალების დღე) on 30 April to commemorate the foundation of the Georgian Armed Forces in 1991.
Greece marks its Armed Forces Day (Greek: Ημέρα των Ενόπλων Δυνάμεων) on 21 November, on the day of the Presentation of Mary.
In Guatemala, Día del Ejército is celebrated on 30 June. It is remembered because in 1871 the Liberal Revolution or “Revolución Liberal”, led by Miguel García Granados and Justo Rufino Barrios, marched on the streets of Guatemala City putting an end to the Conservadora administration formerly headed by Rafael Carrera.
In Hungary, the Day of Patriots and Military Honvédelem Napja is celebrated on 21 May.
In India, the Army, Navy and Air Force celebrate their own Army Day (15 January), the Navy Day (4 December) and the IAF Day (8 October) respectively. On Republic Day (26 January), all three services display their full colors and guard of honor.
Hari Tentara Nasional Indonesia (English: Indonesian National Armed Forces Day) is celebrated on 5 October, the day of foundation of the Tentara Keamanan Rakyat (People’s Security Army), the predecessor of TNI.
Rouz-e Artesh (English: Army Day) is celebrated on 18 April, the establishment day of the army.
Iraqi Armed Forces Day is celebrated on 6 January, and marks the anniversary of the activation of the Iraqi Army on 6 January 1921.
Yom Hazikaron (English: Memorial Day) is observed on the 5th day of the month of Iyar of the Hebrew calendar, always preceding the next day’s celebrations of Israel Independence Day, Yom Ha-Atzma’ut, on the 5th day of Iyar, the anniversary of the Proclamation of the State of Israel in 1948. This holiday honors fallen military personnel of the Israel Defense Forces and Israeli Security Forces who died in defense of Israel and victims of Terrorism.
Giorno delle Forze Armate (English: Armed Forces Day) is celebrated on 4 November to remember the Italian victory in the First World War. On 4 November 1918, Austrian-Hungarian forces agreed to a cease fire, thus ending the war on Italian front.
State of Japan:
In Japan, following the end of World War II and beginning in 1966, Self-Defense Force Commemoration Day (Japanese: 自衛隊記念日; Romaji: Jiei-tai Kinen’bi) is celebrated every 1 November.
Empire of Japan:
In the Empire of Japan, Army Commemoration Day (Japanese: 陸軍記念日; Romaji: Riku-gun Kinen’bi) was celebrated every March 10th, in commemoration of the Japanese victory in the Battle of Mukden. Similarly, Navy Commemoration Day (Japanese: 海軍記念日; Romaji: Kai-gun Kinen’bi) was celebrated every May 24 in commemoration of the Japanese victory in the Battle of Tsushima. These days were celebrated from 1906 until the end of World War II in 1945.
Lebanese Armed Forces (Armed Forces Day) is celebrated on 1 August.
The Day of Macedonian Army is celebrated on August 18th. This date is chosen because on August 18th 1943, the battalion Mirče Acev was formed at the Slavej Mountain. It was the first organized battalion to fight against the fascist forces in World War II in Macedonia. The day is not a national holiday, but is celebrated with a manifestation at one of the Army’s barracks, where the President, the Speaker of the Assembly, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense are always present. Usually there is a parade of the armed forces and an exhibition of the weapons and vehicles of the Army.
Mali Army Day is celebrated on 20 January.
Hari Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (English: Malaysian Armed Forces Day) is celebrated on 16 September
Mauritanian Armed Forces (English: Armed Forces Day) is celebrated on 1 May.
Mexican Armed Forces (English: Armed Forces Day) is celebrated on 19 February since 1950, in commemoration of the decree that created them in 1917.
Soldier’s Day (Mongolian: Цэргийн баяр) is celebrated on 18 March annually.
In Nigeria, Armed Forces Day, also known as Remembrance Day, is celebrated on 15 January. It was formerly celebrated on 11 November of every year to coincide with the Remembrance Day (Poppy Day) for the World War II veterans in the British Commonwealth of Nations. But it was changed to 15 January in Nigeria in commemoration of the surrender of Biafran troops to the Federal troops on 15 January 1970, thus concluding the Nigerian Civil War that sought to tear apart the unity of Nigeria.
In North Korea, Army Day is celebrated on 25 April, in commemoration of the day of the creation of the Korean People’s Army in 1932.
Military Foundation Day was originally observed on February 8, because the Korean People’s Army was officially founded on that date in 1945 with backing from the Soviet Union. It incorporated many remnants of Kim Il Sung’s anti-Japanese guerrilla force and the Korean Volunteer Army, which had been led be Kim Tu Bong and Mu Chong. Both forces fought – alongside Chinese communist forces – against the Japanese during the occupation and World War II. The Korean Liberation Army, which was associated with the Korean government-in-exile in Shanghai and cooperated with the United States Office of Strategic Services (predecessor to the CIA), is not considered part of the lineage of the KPA.
In 1971, Kim Il Sung changed the official founding date of the KPA – and with it Military Foundation Day – to April 25, 1932, the date he first formed his anti-Japanese guerrilla force at Mt. Paektu, according to the official history. It is believed this was done to give himself more credit for creating the current military and reduce the credit given to Soviet support, making it appear as more of an indigenous Korean institution.
As with other important dates, North Korea uses April 25 symbolically as the name of various institutions and places, in this case ones that are military-related. Probably the best-known is the April 25 House of Culture, in Sosong-guyok, Pyongyang. It contains multiple theaters and is used for military-related ceremonies and performances and for seminars by the KPA and the National Defense Commission. The April 25 Sports Club – previously the February 8 Sports Club – is the official football team of the Korean People’s Army and one of the most successful in North Korea.
In Pakistan, the Federal Army, Navy and Air Force celebrate Defense Day (6 September), the Navy Day/Victory Day (8 September) and the Air Force Day (7 September) respectively. Usually the ceremony takes place on the Resolution or Republic Day (23 March) when all three services display their full colors and guard of honor.
In Peru, the Día de las Fuerzas Armadas del Perú (English: Peruvian Armed Forces Day) is celebrated on 24 September. The day for the Peruvian Army itself is 9 December, commemorating Peru’s victory in the Battle of Ayacucho, which ended the Peruvian War of Independence.
Armed Forces Day is observed on 21 December, the anniversary of the official founding of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 1935 in accordance with CA No. 1 (National Defense Act of 1935).
In Poland, the Święto Wojska Polskiego (English: Polish Armed Forces Day) is celebrated annually on 15 August. Begun in 1923, the day commemorated the anniversary of Poland’s 1920 victory over Soviet Russia at the Battle of Warsaw in the Polish-Soviet War. The holiday was discontinued during the communist era in 1947, only to be revived again after the return of democracy in 1992.
In Romania, the Armed Forces Day is celebrated on 25 October – on this day, in 1944, the Romanian Army liberated Carei, the last Romanian city under Nazi-Hungarian occupation.
The Romania–Hungary border had been reached a few days earlier, but the troops rested, completing the liberation of Romania as a gift to King Michael I of Romania on his birthday.
In Russia, the День защитника Отечества / Dyen’ zaschitnika Otechestva (English: Defender of the Fatherland Day) is celebrated on 23 February. In the Soviet Union there was День Советской Армии / Dyen’ Sovetskoy Armi’i (Day of the Soviet Army), celebrated on the same date.
Sretenje (English: The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple) in Christianity, 15 February – The Independence Day of Serbia is a date which was in 2001 taken as a Day of the Serbian Armed Forces. This day was taken as a starting day for the establishment of the modern Serbian state and as a national holiday as a remembrance day on Candlemas Day in 1804 when the First Serbian Uprising began in Orasac, and on the same day in 1835 Duke Milos Obrenovic proclaimed the First Serbian Constitution, which was regarded as one of the most liberal and modern constitutions of European in those times.
In Singapore, Singapore Armed Forces Day falls on 1 July each year. There is a parade to mark the day. There is also the trooping of colors for the occasion.
In South Korea 국군 의 날 (English: Armed Forces Day) falls on 1 October, the day that South-Korean forces broke through the 38th parallel in 1950 during the Korean War. It is not a national holiday or public day off, but a National Flag Raising Day (국기게양일) to recognizes and honor the South Korean military.
Armed Forces Day (Spanish: Día de las Fuerzas Armadas) is observed in Spain since 1978. It started as a purely military celebration, but became with time a more colorful and popular event, the central acts of which are held each year at a different city. Since 1987 it is observed the Saturday nearest to 30 May, feast-day of Saint Ferdinand, King.
The Armed Forces and those killed in service are also honored at the celebrations of Spain’s National Day (12 October).
In Sri Lanka each armed services celebrates its own Army Day (9 October), the Navy Day (9 December) and the Air Force Day (2 March) respectively. However all armed services celebrate Independence Day (4 February) with a military parade in which they display their full colors.
Thailand honours the Royal Thai Armed Forces on 18 January, the very day King Naresuan won Yuddhahatthi or Elephant Battle against Minchit Sra (grandson of Bayinnaung) in 1592 at Nong Sarai, Suphanburi. This is honored with massive military parades in various parts of the country. The main celebrations are in Bangkok and on behalf of the Royal Family of Thailand, the Chief of Defense Forces takes the salute on this day’s parade.
The Ukrainian army’s Army Day is celebrated on 6 December.
The first UK Armed Forces Day took place on 27 June 2009. It replaced Veterans’ Day which was first observed in 2006. The date was chosen as it marked the day after the anniversary of the first investiture ceremony for the Victoria Cross, held on 26 June 1857.
The 2009 celebrations were centered on Chatham Historic Dockyard – a former Royal Navy base. The Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah, and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, attended as the official party, along with the head of the Armed Forces, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, and Defense Minister Kevan Jones.
The Isle of Man, a Crown Dependency, held its events a month later on 26 July 2009.
The 2010 event was centered on Cardiff and in 2011 it was Edinburgh’s turn. Smaller events were held throughout the United Kingdom.
UK Armed Forces Day 2012 was centered on Plymouth and took place on Saturday 30 June. Smaller events were held throughout the United Kingdom. The Isle of Man holds its event on Sunday 24 June.
In the United States, Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in May. It falls near the end of Armed Forces Week, which begins on the second Saturday of May and ends on the third Sunday of May.
First observed on 20 May 1950, the day was created on 31 August 1949, to honor Americans serving in the five U.S. military branches – the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard – following the consolidation of the military services in the U.S. Department of Defense. It was intended to replace the separate Army-, Navy-, Air Force-, Marine Corps- and Coast Guard Days, but the separate days are still observed, especially within the respective services.
The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated by parades, open houses, receptions and air shows. The United States’ longest running city-sponsored Armed Forces Day Parade is held in Bremerton, Washington. In 2012, Bremerton celebrated the 64th year of the Armed Forces Day Parade.
Because of their unique training schedules, National Guard and Reserve units may celebrate Armed Forces Day/Week over any period in the month of May.
Venezuela celebrates Army Day on 24 June, the anniversary of Simón Bolívar’s victory in the Battle of Carabobo, which led to Venezuela’s independence from Spain.
Navy Day, honoring the 1823 Battle of Lake Maracaibo, is celebrated on the same day as the birthday of Simon Bolivar, 24 July.
The entire Venezuelan National Armed Forces are also honored on Independence Day, 5 July, which is also earmarked as National Armed Forces Day.
In Vietnam, Armed Forces Day is celebrated on 22 December. This is not a public holiday.