Difference between National Anthem and National Song

Key Difference: National anthem and national song both refers to patriotic songs that describe the culture and pride associated with the country. National anthem is officially adopted by the countries, whereas as national song may or may not be officially adopted by the country.

The word anthem is associated with any song or hymn that consists of feelings like praise, joy, triumph and pride. Thus, a song that brings out the same feelings is selected as the national anthem. National anthem is a patriotic hymn or song and is officially adopted by the countries. Hence, a country can have only one national anthem.

National anthems are chosen on the basis of the content and significance. For example, in 1931, ‘the Star Spangled Banner’ became the official national anthem of the United States. This song was selected due to the significance of the lyrics that symbolizes the strong characteristics of the United States. A national anthem always reflects the culture and tradition of the country.

Singing an anthem requires following of certain guidelines. National anthem is a tribute to country and thus should be sung with respect. National anthem is sung according to the defined codes. The anthem is usually sung on historic days that are marked by national holidays, and also is usually sung in international sports events, etc.

A national song is also a patriotic song but it is different from national anthem as it may or may not have official recognition. It is also a patriotic song like anthem. It is not mandatory to have a national song. India recognizes ‘Vande Matram’ written by Bankim Chandra Chaterjee as its National song. This song was famous among the freedom fighters, and due to the patriotic fervor, it was later adopted as the country’s national song.

It is important to mention that all countries do not have both national anthem and a national song. Sometimes a national anthem is also referred as national song in countries where they do not have separate national anthem and song. The differences are listed in the table; these differences are according to the countries where there is a national anthem and also a different song that is recognized as national song.


National Anthem

National Song


National anthem is a patriotic hymn or song and is officially adopted by the countries

National song is also a patriotic song and may or may not be adopted officially by the countries


Specific rules and regulations need to be followed while singing a national anthem

No specific rules


Generally in national ceremonies

Not mandatory


‘Jana Gana Mana’ of India

‘Vande Matram’ of India

Image Courtesy: kootation.com, pardaphash.com

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Clear cut message. Thanks

While I thank you for the clarification, I would like to point that the our national anthem is :Jana gana mana and not "Jan man gan". Please have some respect to Indian national anthem especially while posting on website for public. Regards

Thanks Madhumita, we corrected it :)


thanks for clearing me in the big confution........

thank u

Special tribute to both the Bengal Legends

Thank u

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