TORONTO, CANADA – July 27, 2018 – Jamaica is celebrating 56 years of Independence this year, and the island is ringing in the milestone with seven days of festivities, which commence on the eve of Emancipation Day (August 1) and run until Independence Day (August 6). Both occasions are important holidays on the island. Emancipation Day commemorates the anniversary of the abolishment of slavery in Jamaica, while Independence Day celebrates Jamaica’s political independence from the United Kingdom. As is customary, vibrant festivals, street dances, parades, performances, and beach parties occur island-wide during this time.
Visitors on island are invited to enjoy the festivities during the celebratory week. Here are a few of the events:
The Emancipation Jubilee commemorates the end of slavery in Jamaica. Held in Seville Heritage Park at St. Ann’s Bay, the event features an abundance of traditional food and crafts, as well as vibrant displays and beautiful performances by both popular artists and traditional folk groups. A moving reading of the Emancipation Proclamation happens every year at midnight to mark the occasion
The Regional Festival Bandwagon, where energetic and colourful performers and costumed groups make stops in squares and main towns throughout the island entertaining bystanders
Independence Day Village in Kingston, which features a variety of Jamaican cuisine and hosts the World Reggae Dance Championship Finals
The Western Jamaica Independence Village in Montego Bay boasts a street parade, display booths and a range of leisure activities that are popular among eventgoers
“Being in Jamaica for Independence Day is a particularly memorable time to visit. The vibe and celebrations are infectious,” said Philip Rose, Regional Director, Jamaica Tourist Board Canada. “The island puts on an incredible show including festival competitions celebrating local talent, and community street dances, along with the great music and food.”
Jamaica Independence Day in Canada
Those who can’t make it to Jamaica in time for the Independence Day fun can still get an authentic sense of the island’s culture right here in Canada with these homegrown events:
Jamaica Independence Celebrations - Civic Cultural Ceremony (August 4 - Evergreen Community Spaces, 1709 8 Ave NE #2, Calgary, AB, T2E 0S9): A special ceremony celebrating the Jamaican diaspora community, followed by music and cultural performances.
Jamaica Day Festival (August 5 - Holland Park, King George Blvd & 100 Ave, Surrey, British Columbia): This festival features musical performances from artists such as Jamaican-Canadian reggae artist Steele, a limbo show from King Fish Limbo, fun games, great Jamaican food and a Kids Zone for the little ones.
Independence Banquet (August 5 - 4065 Rue Jean-Talon West, Montreal, Quebec H4P
Flag of Jamaica Independence Day Ceremony (August 5 at 1pm - 100 Queen St. W., Toronto, ON M5H 2N2): Jamaica’s flag will be raised at Toronto’s City Hall to commemorate Independence Day.
JerkFest 2018 (August 10 - August 12 - 256 Centennial Park Rd., Etobicoke, ON, M9C
Jamaica 2018 Independence Gala Dinner & Dance (August 11 - 995 Arrow Rd., Toronto, Ontario, M9M 2Z5): An elegant evening event that includes a dinner with music from Jay Douglas And The All Stars Band and popular local disc jockey, DJ Fynntastic.
For more information about traveling to Jamaica, please go to www.visitjamaica.com.