New Delhi: Karnataka will on Friday celebrate ‘Karnataka Rajyotsava‘ (Karnataka State Festival). The festival, observed as a public holiday across the state, commemorates November 1, 1956, when all Kannada-speaking regions of South India were merged to form the state of Karnataka.

The festival is also sometimes called ‘Kannada Rajyotsava’ after the state’s official language.

The Karnataka state flag features prominently in the Rajyotsava celebrations.

The Karnataka Rajyotsava

The state of Karnataka was formed on November 1, 1956, as ‘Mysore’ state comprising areas of the erstwhile princely state of Mysore, Kannada-speaking areas of the Bombay and Madras presidencies, as well as the principality of Hyderabad. The state got its current name of ‘Karnataka’ on November 1, 1973, with Devraj Arasu as the Chief Minister.

On this day, the Karnataka flag is hoisted at strategic places across the state and the state anthem ‘Jaya Bharata Jananiya Tanujate’ is sung.

The state government gives out ‘Rajyotsava Awards’ on this day to people who have made great contributions towards the development of Karnataka; 64 eminent personalities will be conferred the Rajyotsava Award this year. The flag hoisting ceremony is followed by addresses from the Chief Minister and the Governor. In major cities, including state capital Bengaluru, which is also the country’s IT capital, private companies, as well as schools, organise cultural events.

The day also features a cultural show, which is inaugurated by the Chief Minister, at the Sri Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.

The Karnataka State

One of the most developed states in India, Karnataka is the sixth-largest state by area, in the country. With a population of over 60 million, it is eighth-largest. It has the fourth-largest economy in the country, with a contribution of over Rs 15 lakh crore to gross domestic product (GDP) of India.

Its current Chief Minister is BS Yediyurappa of the BJP, who is in his fourth term in office.