For the first time in 42 years, Libya is celebrating the anniversary of its independence.
The United Libyan Kingdom was formed on 24 December 1951 under King Idris. However, after Col Muammar Gaddafi seized power in 1969, only the date of his coup was allowed to be marked.
Celebrations are planned in Tripoli, including lunch for several thousand, served on tables which organisers say could stretch for 2km (1.2 miles) along Tripoli's seafront.
The day's central event will be a march from Martyrs Square to the country's national museum - the former Royal Palace - where there will be speeches.
But many Libyans remain unaware of the significance of 24 December due to the anniversary not being celebrated under Col Gaddafi's four-decade rule.
The rally has begun, with senior members of the Libyan National Transitional Council, including its chairman, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, and interim Prime Minister Abdurrahim al-Keib, expected to be joined by a number of international dignitaries.One of those present at the celebrations, Prince Idris bin Abdullah al-Senussi, who was among the royal family members forced into exile, told the BBC that he had dreamed of being able to one day return to Libya.
"Libyans are determined to build a country, to have a democracy," he said.
"I think they will never accept anymore somebody to dictate or humiliate them. Libyans will run their country by themselves."
The BBC's Mark Lowen, in the capital, says the country has huge challenges ahead including building a strong national government, disarming the militias that still wield power in the country, and promoting reconciliation between pro- and anti-Gaddafi fighters.
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