India is all set to witness the enchanting Beating Retreat ceremony, a centuries old military tradition dating from the days when troops disengaged from battle at sunset.
It officially denotes the end of Republic Day festivities.
Every year it is conducted on the evening of January 29, the third day after the Republic Day and is organized by the Defence Ministry.
The ceremony was started in 1955 and has been a hallmark of Republic Day celebrations ever since.
However, this military ceremony dates back to 17th century England when it was first used to recall nearby patrolling units to their castle.
Originally, Beating Retreat was known as watch setting and was initiated at sunset by the firing of a single round from the evening gun.
As soon as the buglers sounded the retreat, the troops ceased fighting, sheathed their arms and withdrew from the battlefield.
It is for this reason that the custom of standing still during the sounding of retreat has been retained to this day. Colours and standards are cased and flags lowered at retreats.
Based on these military traditions, 'Beating Retreat' ceremony creates a mood of nostalgia of the times gone by.