Prior to the year 1972, Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon. For more than a century Sri Lanka was a British crown colony but on 4 February, 1948 the country achieved its independence to officially become the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Don Stephen Senanayake became Sri Lanka's first Prime Minister.
Since the attainment of freedom from British rule, Sri Lanka has enjoyed a stable democracy and steady economic growth in spite of the conflict with a separatist military group called LTTE in the recent years.
The independence day of Sri Lanka is a great national occasion celebrated with parades and pageants combined with the spirit of patriotism and national pride. The celebrations begin with the hoisting of the national flag and singing the national anthem, followed by the traditional lighting of the lamp ceremony. Subsequently there are various cultural programs as well as serving of refreshments.
This national day holds much significance for the people of Sri Lanka as it reflects the history of great sacrifices made by many Sri Lankans in the Attainment of its freedom.
It is the day to pay tribute to the armed forces that played a major role in the country's freedom struggle.