Martyrs Of Independence Day

Observed annually on January 4th, Martyrs of Independence Day is a public holiday in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The purpose of this holiday is to remember those people whose basic human rights were violated and who lost their lives while fighting for justice and ultimately independence.

Although it falls on the date when several hundred people were killed during a peaceful march in 1959, its symbolism includes all victims of oppression and injustice. This holiday is often observed with solemn memorials and services that remember and honor all those who have become martyrs for their country.

The History of Martyrs of Independence Day in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

During the 1950s, many people in the Congo began to push for their basic human rights and to gain independence from the control of Belgium. The police ended up breaking up a meeting of the independence group ABAKO—an event that led to riots breaking out on January 4, 1959.

After almost two full days of violence, 47 Congolese people had been killed, and 379 Africans and Europeans were injured. It is for this event that Martyrs of Independence Day was established. In June of 1960, the Democratic Republic of the Congo gained its independence.

Facts About the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Below are some of the facts we’ve learned about the DR Congo during the course of our research.

  • The people of the DR Congo represent over 200 ethnic groups, and 240 languages are spoken.
  • The DR Congo is one of the most resource-rich countries on the planet.
  • The DR Congo is the second-largest country in Africa.

Observing Martyrs of Independence Day in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

This holiday is observed with special and solemn ceremonies, the laying of wreaths on graves, and speeches given by public officials. People remember those who have fallen for independence and keep them in their memory on this holiday.

Where is it celebrated?
Congo Democratic Republic (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
January 4 Thursday
Next year (2025)
January 4 Saturday
Last year (2023)
January 4 Wednesday