Heroes’ Day in Cape Verde & Guinea-Bissau

Heroes’ Day is a public holiday that’s observed in Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau on January 20th every year. It’s a holiday that commemorates all of those who have worked towards nationhood and is observed on the anniversary of Amilcar Cabral’s death. Cabral had become a leading figure for West African independence and had established the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC).

On January 20, 1973, he would be assassinated by Inocencio Kani—a former PAIGC rival. Cabral died before he could see his country achieve true independence, and the date of his death was chosen to honor him and all national heroes.

The History Of Heroes’ Day In Guinea-Bissau & Cape Verde

In 1924, Amilcar Lopes Cabral was born in Portuguese Guinea. He would go on to receive his educated in Cape Verde and Lisbon, and this is where his views on colonialism were formed. He would go on to become a leader in the West African liberation movement and in 1956, he would form the PAIGC.

The PAIGC originally pushed for independence through peaceful means, but that would change over the 7 years as they became disillusioned with their lack of progress. The PAIGC would then launch a military campaign in 1963 to begin the war of independence.

On January 20, 1973 Amilcar Cabral was shot dead by Inocencio Kani. A few months later, Guinea found independence and in July of 1975, Cape Verde followed suit. Not long after, both Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde chose the anniversary of Cabral’s death for their celebration of Heroes’ Day.

Observing Heroes’ Day In Guinea-Bissau & Cape Verde

In Cape Verde, this holiday has been traditionally observed with the issuance of stamps, coins, or banknotes that bear Cabral’s image. On this day many people in Cape Verde will enjoy such traditional dishes as Cachupa, Buzio, or Morreia. In Guinea-Bissau, dishes such as Yassa and Egusi are usually enjoyed.

Where is it celebrated?
Cabo Verde (Public holiday)Guinea-Bissau (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2023)
January 20 Friday
Next year (2024)
January 20 Saturday
Last year (2022)
January 20 Thursday