Held yearly on the first Monday of August, Emancipation Day is a public holiday in Grenada. Marking the date that the British put an end to slavery, Emancipation Day is celebrated in Grenada with tribute to history and cultural tradition.
A Short Island History
Grenada has gone through many changes over its history. After the English failed to settle Grenada (known then by the island tribes as Camahogne) the French conquered the island in 1650, taking it from the native Caribs. The French soon thereafter established plantations and began bringing slaves from Africa to the island. In the late 18th century the British gained control of Grenada, and abolished slavery in the 1830s. From 1958-1962, Grenada was part of the West Indies Federation, and in 1967, the island became an Associated State of the United Kingdom, making Grenada independently responsible for internal affairs, leaving foreign affairs and defense to the UK.
First celebrated in Guyana, Emancipation Day marks the ends of slavery. Celebrated worldwide on August 1st, Grenada holds festivities on the first Monday of August, with the holiday landing on August 5th this year. The day is filled with history, joy, and the colors of the island, with cultural activities planned throughout the day. The Prime Minister of Grenada delivers a speech on the day, and people fill the streets creating a carnival-like atmosphere.
The Best Place to Celebrate
The Rainbow City Festival is our favorite place to celebrate Emancipation Day. With events held from August 1st-6th in the St. Andrew’s town of Grenville, the celebration includes food, music, and dancing, and is named for the rainbows that are often seen in the sky over the town. With local arts and crafts on display, and tours being offered of scenic sites in the parish, the Rainbow City Festival is a fantastic location to lime (party) the day away. The weekend’s celebrations include drum moonlighting, fish cassava, a farmer’s market and breakfast, and an exhibition and cultural display, culminating on Emancipation Day with the Emancipation March, Vintage Calypso/Top 10 Soca Show, and Gospel in the Streets.
How to Get There
Halfway up the island on the East Coast, Grenville can be reached by going over Grand Etang or by taking the South and East Coast Roads. Local reggae busses make the journey regularly, but for a more convenient (and quicker) trip, Laluna’s Concierge can arrange a taxi or car rental for the day.