Region: Explore the Island
There are ten (10) public holidays observed in Jamaica annually. Throughout the year the nation breaks from its normal daily activities for both secular and religious causes.
On January 1, we “ring in” the New Year with spectacular fireworks shows, grand festivities as well as attend church. Known for having more churches per square mile than any other country in the world, four of our nation’s public holiday are a show of Jamaica’s piety, namely Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Easter Monday and Christmas. While many Jamaicans spend these holidays in reflection, others use these time to relax or as an opportune time for beach time fun. During Easter for example, apart from indulging in the bun and cheese tradition, join the family getaways or themed parties in Ocho Rios, Port Antonio and Montego Bay.
Labour Day is a holiday initially born out of public service. In May individuals, schools, clubs and other organizations are encouraged to volunteer on Labour Day for improving the environment, inspiring the spirit of community development and the principle of working together. Feel free to join in and volunteer in projects hosted by your hotel.
Emancipation Day on August 1, and Independence Day, celebrated on August 6, are marked by impressive displays of national pride. A Grand Gala is hosted annually on August 6th at the National Stadium and showcases Jamaica’s colorful heritage in the form of song and dance with elaborate costumes. The main hot spots during this time are the island’s western region, Negril and Montego Bay, and Ocho Rios in the north. The week long festivities are the last major hoorah of the summer season.
National Heroes Day in October marks part of Heritage Week when we take the time to acknowledge and celebrate the victories of the past and recognize those who have contributed to national development. Children can be seen dressed up as their favorite heroes while civic ceremonies are held in all parishes to honor both new and longstanding heroes.
Christmas in Jamaica features plentiful servings of fruitcake and sorrel juice along with sightings of Junkunoo parades (perhaps equivalent to Halloween in the USA). These masqueraders dressed in “scary” costumes dance in the streets across the island.
Had too much fun on Christmas Day? Don’t worry, the day after Christmas is Boxing Day and still a holiday when you can celebrate the joys of the season and your Jamaican holiday.
Public Holidays in Jamaica (2014):
New Year's Day - January 1 (Wednesday)
Ash Wednesday – March 5 (Wednesday)
Good Friday – April 18 (Friday)
Easter Monday – April 21(Monday)
Labour Day - May 23 (Friday)
Emancipation Day - August 1 (Friday)
Independence Day - August 6 (Wednesday)
National Heroes Day – October 20 (Monday)
Christmas Day - December 25 (Thursday)
Boxing Day - December 26 (Friday)
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