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Emancipation Day

Date: 01/08

On August 1, 1838, the enslaved Africans throughout the British Empire in the Caribbean were finally freed from the bondage of chattel slavery.


In 1985, August 1, Emancipation Day, was declared a national holiday. Since 1985, Emancipation celebrations have grown into a major national festival, where tens of thousands of people participate in various activities.

The Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad & Tobago hosts a week of activities leading up to Emancipation Day including cultural performances in music, song and dance. Over the past years, leading international artistes such as the world renowned National Senegalese Ballet, Lorraine Klassen and Jabu Khanyile from South Africa have performed in the celebrations.

Other activities include an art exhibition, lectures by prominent Pan African scholars, opportunities for networking and business development through the annual International Trade and Investment Symposium.


There is a chance to purchase African artifacts, paintings and clothing in the market place, popularly called the Trans-Atlantic Exposition, which attracts traders from Ghana, Tanzania, Nigeria, the Caribbean region and North America.


The Kamboule (street procession) on Emancipation Day is theatre in motion, a mass procession throughout the streets of the capital Port of Spain, featuring African drums, steelband, moko jumbies and dance groups. The day ends with the Flambeau Procession later in the night, recalling the rebellion of the African Ancestors against slavery.


Within recent times, Emancipation celebrations have attracted an increasing number of foreign visitors from across the African diaspora. Trinidad & Tobago is now dubbed the Emancipation Capital of the world and the celebrations form one of the world’s foremost African festivals.

Where and when

Contact the Tourism Development Company Limited (TDC) or the Emancipation Support Committee for specific events related to Emancipation celebrations.