Zanzibar Revolution Day

January 12th is observed as a public holiday in Tanzania—a holiday known as Zanzibar Revolution Day. This holiday commemorates the 1964 revolution that resulted in the Sultan being overthrown after the country gained independence from Great Britain. Many of this holiday’s events take place at Amaan Stadium in Zanzibar on this day.

There is also a wreath-laying ceremony that takes place every year on this date at Abeid Karume’s grave. Because this holiday is a public one in Tanzania, it’s a non-working day for most people, and schools, public offices, and businesses are closed.

The History of Zanzibar Revolution Day in Tanzania

Located off the eastern coast of Africa, Zanzibar is a Tanzanian archipelago that consists of a series of islands, with the main one being Unguja (Zanzibar). It was a British protectorate, but that ended on December 10th, 1963. When the protectorate ended, Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah became the country’s ruler as the country became a constitutional monarchy.

The monarchy only lasted a month, however, and on January 12th, 1964, a revolution led by John Okello of the Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP) overthrew the Sultan. This revolution resulted in tens of thousands of casualties, with Indians and Arabs suffering the majority of the violence.

The leader of the ASP, Abeid Karume, then became the country’s president, and the name of the country was changed to the People’s Republic of Zanzibar. Later that year, in April, Zanzibar merged with mainland Tanganyika. The united republic of these two countries was then renamed the United Republic of Tanzania.

Observing Zanzibar Revolution Day in Tanzania

This holiday is observed with parades, concerts, and sporting events. Official ceremonies are held at Amaan Stadium and a wreath-laying ceremony at Abeid Karume’s grave. Since people have the day off, many of them visit friends and family members to enjoy Zanzibar cuisine. Some of the dishes enjoyed include Mishkaki, Octopus, and Urojo Soup.

Where is it celebrated?
Tanzania (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
January 12 Friday
Next year (2025)
January 12 Sunday
Last year (2023)
January 12 Thursday