Independence Day in Guinea-Bissau
In Guinea-Bissau, Independence Day is a public holiday that falls on the 24th of September each year. It commemorates the country’s independence from Portugal — an event that occurred on this date in 1973. It was a part of revolutions across several Portuguese territories that not only resulted in these areas gaining independence but also resulted in the Carnation Revolution in Portugal that led to the ruling dictatorship being overthrown.
Guinea-Bissau’s Independence Day is a holiday on which public schools and government offices are closed, as are many businesses. It’s a day off for the general population, which is a good thing considering all of the activities that occur during this holiday.
The History Of Independence Day In Guinea-Bissau
During the 16th century, the Portuguese established trading posts along the coast of what is now Guinea-Bissau. These ports were used for the slave trade mainly, so the Portuguese made little effort to colonize the interior of the country. It wasn’t until the 19th century that Portugal even decided to explore the interior of the country. Once they did, however, the entirety of the country came under the control of Portugal in 1915.
Amilcar Cabral would establish the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde, also known as PAIGC, in 1956. They initially started their resistance and their push for independence peacefully, but when those efforts failed, PAIGC launched a military campaign in 1963. Over the next ten years, PAIGC would end up controlling about two-thirds of the country and on September 24th, 1973, the country would declare itself independent.
Observing Independence Day In Guinea-Bissau
This holiday is observed with a large number of celebrations. In the capital city Bissau, large events are held that include military parades, marching bands, dancers, and other festivities. However, those aren’t the only Independence Day celebrations held in the country, and just about every community has its own communal events, cultural events, and parties.