Martyr’s Day in Uganda

Martyrs’ Day is a public holiday observed in Uganda on the 3rd of June each year. It commemorates the 45 martyrs who were killed by order of Buganda King Kabaka Mwanga II between 1885 and 1887.

King Mwanga saw foreign missions as a threat to his kingdom and his rule, so he began a program of expelling missionaries and threatening converts to renounce their new faith or face the penalty of death. His actions would end up working against him, however, and led to a revolution that would overthrow him in 1888.

The History Of Martyrs’ Day In Uganda

Between January 31, 1885, and January 27, 1887, King Mwanga executed 22 Anglican and 23 Catholic converts to Christianity. On the 3rd of June in 1886, he killed an additional 32 young men by burning them to death at Namugongo. What was their crime? Their crime was their refusal to renounce Christianity.

The actions of the king led to a revolution which ended up overthrowing him in 1888 and was backed by the British government. Mwanga negotiated with the British, however, and in exchange for handing some of his power over to the British East Africa Company, he was reinstated to the throne in 1889. That wouldn’t last long, though, because in 1897 he was eventually deposed and became an exile.

Interesting Facts About Uganda

We’ve assembled quite the collection of facts about Uganda that we feel everyone enjoying this holiday article will really appreciate.

  • The official motto of Uganda is “For God and My Country.”
  • The 2021 population of Uganda is over 45 million people.
  • The current life expectancy in Uganda is 63.73 years.

Observing Martyrs’ Day In Uganda

This holiday is observed with solemn memorial services and candlelight vigils that memorialize those who lost their lives during the massacre of the 45 martyrs. It’s also a day on which schools are closed, government offices are closed, and some businesses are closed as well.

Where is it celebrated?
Uganda (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
June 3 Monday
Next year (2025)
June 3 Tuesday
Last year (2023)
June 3 Saturday