Jamaica Day is an annual celebration that recognizes the nation’s unique aspects and its contributions to the world. Conducted under the auspices of the Culture in Education Program, the special day is operated by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information. The theme for this year’s event is Celebrating Jamaica: Highlighting our icons in the Arts, Agriculture and Technological Innovations.
The day is celebrated on a Friday during the last two weeks of February and the exact date is announced by the government each year.
The national holiday is widely celebrated by those of Jamaican descent, but there are many things of which visitors may not be aware of. The following are eight things everyone should know about Jamaica Day.
1- Residents of Jamaica typically demonstrate their support for the day by dressing in green, gold and black. The green symbolizes hope and agricultural resources, gold for natural wealth and beauty of sunlight, and black representing the strength and creativity of the people.
2- The primary focus of the day is children, who dress in traditional bandanas and the nation’s colors.
3- The first Jamaica Day was celebrated in May 2002. Only 11 schools participated. It’s now celebrated by every learning institution throughout the island.
4- Activities include poetry readings, musical presentations, traditional dances, and reenactments of folk tales.
5- History is kept alive through displays and exhibits of artifacts from the past with explanations of their original uses.
6- Traditional Jamaican dishes and native foods are served and take center stage.
7- Jamaica Day activities take place at the National Arena.
8- Each school sends 10 students to the National Arena where they’re able to view historical artifacts and cultural displays, along with those in the fields of art, engineering, mathematics, science and technology.
The Hon. Alando Terrelonge, State Minister in the Ministry of Education, said this about Jamaica Day “…to be an icon is the most amazing things that our children can dream of and aspirate to…”
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