Monday, March 14, 2011

Kiribati - Commonwealth Day 1983

Commonwealth Day is the annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations held on the second Monday in March, and marked by a multi-faith service in Westminster Abbey. Kiribati celebrated Commonwealth Day in 1983 by issuing these four delightful stamps and the nice First Day Cover. Normally attended by Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth, with the Commonwealth Secretary-General and Commonwealth High Commissioners in London. The Queen delivers an address to the Commonwealth, broadcast throughout the world. Also, in the year before the quadrennial Commonwealth Games, the Queen starts the Queen's Baton Relay on Commonwealth Day at Buckingham Palace, handing the baton to the first relay runner to start a journey that will end at the Opening Ceremony of the upcoming Games, which were held in Delhi in 2010. While it has a certain official status, Commonwealth Day is not a public holiday, and in most Commonwealth countries and there is little public awareness of it.

Kiribati, officially the Republic of Kiribati, is an island nation located in the central tropical Pacific Ocean. It is composed of 32 atolls and one raised coral island, dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometres, (1,351,000 square miles) straddling the equator, and bordering the International Date Line at its easternmost point. The name Kiribati is the local pronunciation of "Gilberts", derived from the main island chain, the Gilbert Islands. Kiribati became independent from the United Kingdom in 1979. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the IMF and the World Bank, and became a full member of the United Nations in 1999.

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