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Jamaica Independence Day Celebrations: A Parade of Black, Green & Gold

2018-07-30T09:29:08-04:00 en-US Jul 30, 2018

Photo: Jamaica Emancipation Day Credit: NatlBakingCO

July 30, 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 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 1W6): This celebration begins with cocktails and a reception with special guest speaker Mr. George Grant, Jamaica’s Honorary Consul, Montreal. A day party will follow, featuring music from Jamaican-Canadian R&B singer Shaharah Sinclair, Soulvation and Montreal-based Deejay Kwite Sane. 

For more information about traveling to Jamaica, please go to 

About Jamaica Tourist Board 

The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), founded in 1955, is Jamaica’s national tourism agency based in the capital city of Kingston. JTB offices are also located in Montego Bay, Miami, Toronto and London. Representative offices are located in Berlin, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam and Mumbai.   

TripAdvisor® ranked Jamaica as the #1 Caribbean Destination and #14 Best Destination in the World in 2018. Also this year, the International Council of the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA) named Jamaica the Best Destination for Adventure Tourism and TravAlliance Media named the JTB the Best Tourism Board Overall. Additionally, the JTB has been declared the Caribbean’s Leading Tourist Board by the World Travel Awards (WTA) for eleven consecutive years between 2006 and 2017. In 2017, Jamaica also earned the WTA’s award for the Caribbean’s Leading Wedding Destination and the Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Destination. Jamaica is home to some of the world’s best accommodations, attractions and service providers that have won several awards throughout the years.   

For details on upcoming special events, attractions and accommodations in Jamaica go to the JTB’s Web site at or call the Jamaica Tourist Board at 1-800-JAMAICA (1-800-526-2422).  Follow the JTB on FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterest and YouTube. View the JTB blog at