Independence Day in Jamaica

On August 6th in Jamaica, Independence Day is celebrated as a public holiday each year. This holiday is the National Day of Jamaica and commemorates the country’s independence from Great Britain on this date in 1962. Jamaica was one of the first colonies in the New World and had to dwell under not only Spanish rule but also British rule.

Jamaica was a colony for approximately four and a half centuries before it became its own independent country. Today, Independence Day is celebrated with a fair amount of enthusiasm, with parades, parties, fireworks, and other events being the norm across the island.

The History of Independence Day in Jamaica

In 1509, Jamaica became a colony of Spain and would remain a Spanish possession for approximately 146 years before it was taken by the British Empire on May 11th, 1655, during the Anglo-Spanish War. It would then remain a British colony for hundreds of years.

During the 1950s, Jamaica passed several amendments to its constitution so that it could have greater self-government. Then, Jamaica became a founding member of the West Indies Federation in 1958. It was a federation of various Caribbean islands that were colonies of Great Britain.

However, Jamaica became disillusioned with the West Indies Federation and the slow march towards independence, so moves were made towards that end. In 1962, the Jamaica Labour Party came to power and pushed the Jamaica Independence Act. This act was passed by the UK Parliament on July 19th, 1962. Jamaica then gained independence on August 6th, 1962.

Observing Independence Day in Jamaica

One of the main celebrations of this holiday is held in the evening at Independence Park at the National Arena. There is also a Jamaica Festival that features parades, exhibitions, and artistic performances. Other events include the raising of the Jamaican flag and the serving of traditional Jamaican foods such as curry goat, rice and peas, jerk chicken, and Jamaican beef patties.

Where is it celebrated?
Jamaica (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
August 6 Tuesday
Next year (2025)
August 6 Wednesday
Last year (2023)
August 6 Sunday