I just learned of a national holiday that’s celebrated in Jamaica, as well as other English and French-speaking Caribbean countries, and I had to highlight it. The following information comes from Loop Jamaica.
On August 1, 1834, all African children under the age of six were deemed free from chattel slavery in Jamaica. But older slaves were still forced to work 40 hours per week without compensation until full freedom was granted in 1838. For Jamaicans of African descent, today represents the freedom of their ancestors, known as Emancipation Day.
It’s a public holiday that’s celebrated in Jamaica and other Caribbean countries like Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Trinidad and Tobago—Trinidad and Tobago being the first country to commemorate Emancipation Day as a national holiday. The people of Jamaica will traditionally keep vigils on July 31st, and at midnight church bells will ring and drums will play as a re-enactment of the first moments of freedom for enslaved Africans.
Emancipation Park was opened on July 31, 2002. And in 2003, an 11-foot bronze sculpture of an African man and woman gazing into the sky was unveiled as the main entrance to the park.
Happy Emancipation Day, Jamaica!!!
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Until Next Time…