National Day in Monaco is also known as Sovereign Prince Day. Currently, the holiday is celebrated on 19 November, but the date is chosen by the reigning prince.
The first National Day was celebrated on 16 May 1734, a date chosen by Honore III. In 1854, Prince Charles III changed the date to 4 November, which is the day Patron Saint Charles is celebrated. In keeping with the tradition, Prince Albert changed the date to 15 November after he began his reign in 1890. The tradition of changing the date to match the patron saint the prince was named after continued until Prince Albert II took the throne. He chose to keep the date as 19 November, in honour of his father, Prince Ranier III. The day is designed to celebrate Monaco’s independence as a sovereign nation.
Since 1871, the Prince and his family have participated in many celebrations designed to celebrate National Day. There is normally a parade and salute on the palace grounds. The holiday is marked by much pomp and circumstance.
There is significant national pride on National Day with many people waving the flag of Monaco as they watch parades or participate in festivals. Te Deum and a thanksgiving mass are held at St. Nicholas Cathedral the day after National Day in order to celebrate the Royal family’s Catholic faith.
Many festivals and celebrations are held throughout Monaco, ending with a fireworks display on the port at night. It is also a day set aside to help the less fortunate. Many spend the day distributing parcels to the sick and elderly.