Holidays celebrated in Jamaica are not only made up of the traditional national and religious types of holidays seen in many other countries, but many of our own celebrations as well. Locals and visitors to Jamaica also enjoy a number of other Jamaica holidays of the historical and cultural nature.
The recent generations of escaped slaves, referred to as Maroons, assemble to celebrate the Accompong Maroon Festival on January 6th. This festival is a celebration in honour of Cudjoe, who was the leader of the Maroons, who was responsible for the achievement of a temporary triumph over the British during the war of 1729-1739.
Throughout the Caribbean, the month of February is considered to be the carnival month. The University of the West Indies, which is located in Kingston, Jamaica's capital, is the host to this celebration that lasts for two weeks. This particular celebration consists of gatherings of people participating in all-night dances, calypso competitions and various fashion shows. Jamaica has its own Jamaica Carnival throughout the month of April and it begins on Easter Day.
Emancipation Day, (August 1st) and Independence Day (August 6th) are celebrated during the month of August, along with the celebration of the Jamaica Festival. This Jamaica holiday is a festival that celebrates by holding competitions in the culinary arts, as well as all of the major arts. Those who celebrate this Jamaica holiday are privy to enjoying parties on our beautiful beaches that feature Jamaican culture such as reggae, calypso and soca music.
May 23rd is Labour Day. This holiday in Jamaica was initially celebrated because of the actions of the trade union movement. Since 1972, Labour Day has become a day for all to participate in community service activities to help the community. Participants partake in activities such as plating trees, decorative landscaping, repainting of schools and major buildings and repairing roads needed of an update.
The first Monday in August is dedicated to the celebration of the Jamaican holiday, Independence Day. Jamaica's Independence Day is the day that marks Jamaica's independence from Britain.
Of all the holidays celebrated in Jamaica, the biggest and most anticipated holiday is Christmas (December 25th), which is also the largest family celebration of the year. Christmas in Jamaica is celebrated very similarly to other cultures who celebrate Christmas by exchanging gifts with family and friends, enjoying a large meal, and going to church. We also follow the tradition of visiting with friends and family during the week in between Christmas and the New Year.
There are also other public holidays that are Christian holidays celebrated in Jamaica such as Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and Easter Day. National Heroes' Day is celebrated on October 18th, and Boxing Day on the day after Christmas (December 26th).
Kindly note that holidays that fall on a Saturday or Sunday are usually celebrated on a Monday.
Throughout Jamaica there are various ethnic groups who have other holidays that they also celebrate. These Jamaican holidays include the Muslim observance of Hosay, the Chinese New Year, and the Hindu Diwali festival. In parts of Jamaica where there are high concentrations of people who partake in these events and beliefs, these holidays can draw large crowds of celebrants and observers who wish to participate in these festivals and celebrations.
People from other cultures also enjoy joining the Jamaican locals in the holidays celebrated in Jamaica... and come from all over to participate in the festivities. Many vacation packages are offered during these times, and the Jamaican holidays celebrated during the months of December and May are most frequented by our visitors due to the fact that these months are the most popular seasons to visit Jamaica.
So... when you get here be sure to check out any of these holidays celebrated in Jamaica that match your schedule. Enjoy!