The news is by your side.

The history behind 21-cannon salute given on Independence Day

Every independence day we wake up to a beautiful ceremony by the Defence forces where they present a twenty-one cannon salute. But what’s the significance of ’21’ in the ’21-cannon salute?


According to one account attributed to the US Army Center of Military History, the cannon salutes trace back to the 14th century when a battery of seven guns fired three times.

So it comes as no big surprise that one of the most popular customs of the entire celebration, the 21-gun-salute, has a story behind it that not many are familiar with.

This tradition exists universally, the only difference being the types of weapons used and their directions.

The tradition of firing cannons started somewhere in the 14th century when firearms came into use. Traditionally, seven cannons were fired to render them ineffective. As, according to Times Now, the number 7 was chosen probably because of its astrological and Biblical significance.

This custom traces its roots back to the 17th century when an enemy of the state was ordered to fire their ammunition and unload their weapons by none other than the British naval forces. After that, it became a certain tradition to fire ammunition from on board naval warships if one is to display peaceful intentions.

Today, the 21-gun-salute is the highest honor any nation can accord any dignitary that it considers a valuable friend.

In Pakistan, this 21-gun salute is accorded on specific occasions.

Although Pakistan adopted the tradition from the British Raj, it is very much ours today as well as that of other countries like Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, The Republic of China, to name a few.



You might also like