National anthems might sound serious, but some of them have absolutely crazy stories behind them!
The national anthem is special to every student. It was a final adieu from the terrible morning assembly under the scorching heat. Students would disperse to their respective classes as the assembly would end.
(You never know if you can be arrested for saying that. Nobody knows what is anti-national these days. So, I’ll purposely keep the candour aside.)
National anthems discuss the beauty of any nation, remember the founding fathers and soldiers that have laid their lives for the building of a nation. The national anthems of most colonies are replete with anti-colonialism thought (India isn’t one of them. Ours speaks of pluralism).
ED brings you five national anthems from around the world that are too interesting to be ignored.
1. The French national anthem was used in Russia!
La Marseillaise was a revolutionary call to protect France from tyranny and foreign invasion. Its popularity gained momentum during the French Revolution. We all know how gory the French national anthem is (“Do you hear, in the countryside/The roar of those ferocious soldiers?/They’re coming right into your arms/To cut the throats of your sons, your women!”).
What most don’t know is, it found echo in Russia. The Workers’ Marseillaise became the most popular revolutionary songs in Russia, and remained the official national anthem of the new Russian Republic!
2. Mexico has the perfect story
President Antonio López de Santa Anna, the then President of Mexico announced a poetry competition representing patriotic ideals. The winner’s poetry would earn the status of the national anthem. Guadalupe González del Pino, fiancée of poet Francisco González Bocanegra locked him up in a room after he refused. The room was full of photos of events from the Mexican history.
A writer’s block cured; a nation gets its anthem.
3. Czechoslovakia: 50-50, deal?
The original anthem was formed by taking one verse from a Czech opera (Fidlovačka, No Anger and No Brawl), which was the first verse, and the second verse was from a Slovak folk song (“Nad Tatrou sa blýska”, Lightning over the Tatras).
How do you resolve the issue of the national anthem when the country splits? Simple. Split it too!
4. Panic made the national anthem for Malaysia
The Sultan of Malaysia arrived in London in 1888 after being invited by Queen Victoria. The Queen’s band had to welcome its venerable guest by playing the national anthem of his country. The catch? Malaysia didn’t have a national anthem by then. The Sultan hummed a popular French melody called “La Rosalie” composed by Pierre Hean de Beranger. The tune still remains the same, although lyrics have been edited.
5. No national anthem for Cyprus
The best for the last. It’s true. The tiny country borrows its national anthem from Greece. That would make you uncomfortable if you know that out of all the countries, Cyprus chose to share its anthem with a country credited for having the longest in the world. Yes, 158 verses.
It can very well be said that all national anthems have a certain characteristics which makes each one unique. Some might have far more noticeable one than others. And we should all celebrate our differences despite everything.
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.