Source: Tropical Hives

Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day

On March 30th each year, Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day is celebrated in Trinidad and Tobago. This holiday commemorates the repeal of the Shouter Prohibition Ordinance that occurred on March 30th, 1951. This ordinance prohibited the activities of the Shouter or Spiritual Baptist religion.

Trinidad and Tobago is currently the only country in the world that celebrates a public holiday for this faith. The Spiritual Baptist religion is a faith that is observed in several Caribbean countries and is a combination of African rituals and customs along with elements of the Protestant religion.

The History of Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day

The Spiritual Baptist faith in Trinidad is a product of the Merikin community. The Merikins were African-American refugees of the War of 1812. They were freed slaves of the British who were released during the war. They established a community in southern Trinidad and combined elements of the Baptist religion with the Protestant religion and African customs.

Under British colonial rule, this religion was banned under the Shouter Prohibition Ordinance of 1917. This ordinance banned the religion because its perceived noise levels were disturbing the peace. At the time, Sir Henry Gollam described how members of this religion practiced it as an “unmitigated nuisance” to the general community.

This religion would be against the law for the next 34 years until the ordinance was repealed on March 30, 1951. The holiday celebrating the day that the ordinance was repealed wouldn’t be started for another 45 years, however. It was first observed as a holiday in 1996 and has been observed ever since.

Observing Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day

This holiday is observed with religious celebrations and observances throughout Trinidad and Tobago. Since it’s a public holiday, many businesses and schools are also closed on this day.

Where is it celebrated?
Trinidad and Tobago (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
March 30 Saturday
Next year (2025)
March 30 Sunday
Last year (2023)
March 30 Thursday