National anthem

Instrumental performance of the Russian national anthem at the 2010 Moscow Victory Day Parade in Moscow's Red Square, resplendent with a 21 gun salute

A national anthem (also state anthem, national hymn, national song, etc.) is generally a patriotic musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions, and struggles of its people, recognized either by a nation's government as the official national song, or by convention through use by the people. The majority of national anthems are marches or hymns in style. The countries of Latin America, Central Asia, and Europe tend towards more ornate and operatic pieces, while those in the Middle East, Oceania, Africa, and the Caribbean use a more simplistic fanfare.[1]


A national anthem is most often in the national or most common language of the country, whether de facto or official, there are notable exceptions. Most commonly, states with more than one national language may offer several versions of their anthem, for instance:

  • The "Swiss Psalm", the national anthem of Switzerland, has different lyrics for each of the country's four official languages (French, German, Italian and Romansh).
  • The national anthem of Canada, "O Canada", has official lyrics in both English and French which are not translations of each other, and is frequently sung with a mixture of stanzas, representing the country's bilingual nature. The song itself was originally written in French.
  • "The Soldier's Song", the national anthem of Ireland, was originally written and adopted in English, but an Irish translation, although never formally adopted, is nowadays almost always sung instead.
  • The current South African national anthem is unique in that five of the country's eleven official languages are used in the same anthem (the first stanza is divided between two languages, with each of the remaining three stanzas in a different language). It was created by combining two different songs together and then modifying the lyrics and adding new ones.
  • One of the two official national anthems of New Zealand, "God Defend New Zealand", is commonly now sung with the first verse in Māori ("Aotearoa") and the second in English ("God Defend New Zealand"). The tune is the same but the words are not a direct translation of each other.
  • "God Bless Fiji" has lyrics in English and Fijian which are not translations of each other. Although official, the Fijian version is rarely sung, and it is usually the English version that is performed at international sporting events.
  • Although Singapore has four official languages, with English being the current lingua franca, the national anthem, "Majulah Singapura" is in Malay and by law can only be sung with its original Malay lyrics, despite the fact that Malay is a minority language in Singapore. This is because Part XIII of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore declares, “the national language shall be the Malay language and shall be in the Roman script […]”
  • There are several countries that do not have official lyrics to their national anthems. One of these is the "Marcha Real", the national anthem of Spain. Although it originally had lyrics those lyrics were discontinued after governmental changes in the early 1980s. In 2007 a national competition to write words was held, but no lyrics were chosen.[2] Other national anthems with no words include "Inno Nazionale della Repubblica", the national anthem of San Marino, and that of Kosovo, entitled "Europe".
  • The national anthem of India, "Jana Gana Mana", has lyrics in the Bengali language, despite the fact that India has 22 official languages, with Hindi being the first official language and the most widely spoken of them.
  • Despite the most common language in Wales being English, the Welsh regional anthem "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau" is sung in the Welsh language.
Other Languages
Адыгэбзэ: Къэрал уэрэд
Afrikaans: Volkslied
Alemannisch: Nationalhymne
العربية: نشيد وطني
asturianu: Himnu nacional
авар: Гимн
azərbaycanca: Dövlət himni
تۆرکجه: میلی مارش
Bân-lâm-gú: Kok-koa
Basa Banyumasan: Lagu kebangsaan
беларуская: Дзяржаўны гімн
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Дзяржаўны гімн
български: Национален химн
Boarisch: Nationalhymne
bosanski: Državna himna
brezhoneg: Kan broadel
čeština: Národní hymna
Chavacano de Zamboanga: Himno nacional
Deutsch: Nationalhymne
eesti: Riigihümn
Ελληνικά: Εθνικός ύμνος
español: Himno nacional
Esperanto: Nacia himno
فارسی: سرود ملی
føroyskt: Tjóðsangur
français: Hymne national
Frysk: Folksliet
한국어: 국가 (노래)
Հայերեն: Օրհներգ
हिन्दी: राष्ट्रगान
hrvatski: Državna himna
Bahasa Indonesia: Lagu kebangsaan
interlingua: Hymno national
íslenska: Þjóðsöngur
italiano: Inno nazionale
Basa Jawa: Lagu kabangsan
къарачай-малкъар: Кърал гимн
Kiswahili: Wimbo wa Taifa
latviešu: Valsts himna
Lëtzebuergesch: Nationalhymn
Limburgs: Volksleed
lumbaart: Inn nazional
македонски: Државна химна
Malagasy: Hiram-pirenena
മലയാളം: ദേശീയഗാനം
Bahasa Melayu: Lagu kebangsaan
Baso Minangkabau: Lagu kabangsaan
Nedersaksies: Volkslaid
नेपाली: राष्ट्रगान
日本語: 国歌
norsk nynorsk: Nasjonalsong
Nouormand: Antienne
occitan: Imne nacional
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Davlat madhiyasi
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਕੌਮੀ ਗੀਤ
پنجابی: قومی ترانہ
Plattdüütsch: Natschonalhymne
português: Hino nacional
română: Imn național
Runa Simi: Llaqta taki
русиньскый: Народна гімна
саха тыла: Өрөгөй ырыата
Seeltersk: Nationoalhymne
sicilianu: Innu nazziunali
Simple English: National anthem
slovenčina: Štátna hymna
slovenščina: Državna himna
словѣньскъ / ⰔⰎⰑⰂⰡⰐⰠⰔⰍⰟ: Дрьжавьно славопѣниѥ
Soomaaliga: Heesta qaranka
српски / srpski: Национална химна
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Državna himna
Basa Sunda: Lagu kabangsaan
svenska: Nationalsång
татарча/tatarça: Däwlät himnı
తెలుగు: జాతీయ గీతం
Türkçe: Ulusal marş
українська: Державний гімн
Tiếng Việt: Quốc ca
Võro: Riigihümn
文言: 國歌
粵語: 國歌
žemaitėška: Valstībėnis himns
中文: 国歌