Distinguishing Between Anthems & Songs

Every country has a song or poetic verse that serves to fill its people with feelings of nationalism and is played at official functions such as national days and international games and meets. This song has a standard duration and dignity, and must be sung in a proper manner. Some countries also have a national song, though not all have both a national anthem and a national song. There are several differences between a national anthem and a national song, but many people are not aware of them and might confuse the two. A good example to explain these two terms is India, where both exist.

Key Takeaways

  • Not all countries have both a national anthem and a national song.
  • A national anthem is a song that has an exalted status for the people of the country and has rules and regulations pertaining to its performance, while a national song has a less exalted status and is not sung compulsorily in national ceremonies.
  • National anthems arouse feelings of nationalism and remind citizens of their country’s history and culture, while national songs also command respect and arouse sentimental feelings in the citizens of the country.

A national anthem holds an exalted status in the minds of citizens and requires propriety before it can be sung. It is usually reserved for special occasions such as republic day, Independence Day, and international sports meets. National anthems are revered by the people of the country and are granted privileges by the constitution and law. There are occasions when the singing of a national anthem can be declared compulsory. In most cases, and certainly in the Indian case, a national anthem is a patriotic song that arouses feelings of nationalism. It is granted official status by the government and is sung at all national ceremonies.

In contrast, a national song has a less exalted status than a national anthem and is not sung at national ceremonies (there is no compulsion). There are no rules and regulations to be observed while a national song is being sung, though it commands respect and arouses sentimental feelings in the minds of the citizens of the country.

In India, the constituent assembly granted the status of national anthem to Jana Gana Mana, while according the status of national song to Vande Mataram.

Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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