India actually has three national days – Independence Day, Republic Day and Gandhi’s Birthday. As you’d probably expect, Independence Day is the oldest and is celebrated on 15 August each year.
India gained its independence on 15 August 1947, at midnight local time, as famously and stirringly presaged in Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech in the run-up to the big moment:
Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.
A curious quirk is that although Pakistan gained independence at precisely the same moment, Pakistan celebrates independence on 14 August, having chosen a time zone five hours ahead of GMT instead of five-and-a-half.