Concept behind ‘National Anthems’: Sights and sounds of a nation

Concept behind ‘National Anthems’: Sights and sounds of a nation


Have you ever wondered what’s the one thing which defines your nationality?

A national anthem is a patriotic song or musical composition that is either recognized officially by a nation’s government and constitution or is accepted as such by convention through popular use.

It’s neither our religion nor its related with the languages we speak. For the sake of the argument please don’t take passports to be of any importance here.

The concept of a national anthem was first popularized in 19th century Europe. After their independence from European colonial powers, many of the newly-independent nations also composed their own national anthems and today, virtually every sovereign nation in the world has its own national anthem.

The Wilhelmus, the national anthem of the Netherlands, is the world’s oldest national anthem that was written during the time of the Dutch Revolt between 1568 and 1572.

The national anthem reflects the history, struggles, and traditions of a nation and its people and serves as an expression of national identity.

It’s the passion towards our homeland (community, society), respect of the soil and the citizens living on it. But how can someone show such an emotion and feel proud about it.

Hence, it helps evoke feelings of patriotism among the country’s citizens and reminds them of their nation’s glory, beauty, and rich heritage. It also helps unite the citizens of the country by one single song or music

National Anthem is the single thread which weaves the country citizens as Patriots.

National Anthem gives unity to a country which prevents internal conflicts.

When Is A National Anthem Used?

National anthems are usually played or sung during national holidays, especially during the Independence Day celebrations in a country. National anthems are also performed during cultural and other festivals in the country, usually marking off the beginning or the end of such festivals.

The National anthem is also an integral part of a school’s daily routine in some countries. In countries like India and Pakistan, it is mandatory to play the national anthem at the beginning of a movie in a movie theater.

In some countries like China and Colombia, the national anthem is played at specific times of the day by radio and television channels. Thus, different countries promote their national anthems in different ways.

During the performance of the national anthem, citizens of a nation, despite their ethnic differences, rise up in unison and listen attentively or sing the song with great enthusiasm.

National anthems are often performed in international sporting events. For example, in the Olympic Games, the national anthem of the winning team is played during the medal ceremony. National anthems of the participating nations are also played prior to the start of a game and usually, the anthem of the host nation is played last.

Players also feel a great moment of pride when they receive a medal at an international sporting event while their country’s national anthem is played in the background. It gives them a feeling of having made their country proud. Students who listen to the national anthem in their schools learn to respect their nation and develop a sense of unity among themselves

Although the national anthem of a country is recognized within the country, the use of the anthem outside the country is dependent on the country’s recognition at a global level. For example, Taiwan is not recognized as an independent country by the Olympics committee. Hence, the national anthem of Taiwan is not performed in the Olympics and instead the National Banner Song is played.

Languages Used to Write or Sing The National Anthem:

Most national anthems are in the country’s official or national language since these languages are usually the languages of the majority of the country. However, in countries having more than one official or national languages, several versions of the national anthem in different languages might exist.

For example, Canada’s national anthem, Canada, O Canada, uses both French and English lyrics since both are official languages of the country. The national anthem of South Africa uses five of the eleven national languages of the country.

Is There A Need for A Global Anthem?

Most countries also mention several etiquettes to be observed while performing or listening to the national anthem like standing up, removing headwear, etc

It is not only the sovereign countries of the world that have their own anthem, but international organizations and institutions also have their own anthems which are referred to as “international anthems”.

With large-scale globalization in recent years, various artists have also created global anthems or “Earth Anthems” with the aim of uniting the people of the world and promoting love and tolerance for each other and respect for the planet they live in. However, a true global anthem is yet to be widely accepted.


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Rava Desk

Rava is an online news portal providing recent news, editorials, opinions and advice on day to day happenings in Pakistan.


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