What is heroes day in Jamaica?
Jamaica's Heroes Day
The history of Jamaica is not only tainted by oppression, nor is it only about the tyranny of slavery.
Jamaica’s history also includes moments of triumphs, victories and empowerment of its people.
These moments of triumph were orchestrated by normal men, just like you and me, who accomplished the extraordinary.
These individuals envisioned life beyond oppression and sought to instill their ideologies into the fellow subjugated.
Not only did they devote their lives to imparting these beliefs, some were imprisoned while others for killed.
Today we refer to these individuals as our “heroes”.
In acknowledgement of their contribution to freedom fighting and or nation building, one specific day has been dedicated as a commemoration for their efforts.
This day is what we call "National Heroes’ day".
National Heroes’ Day, a National Day of Commemoration
The first staging of the National Heroes’ Day celebration commenced on the 20th of October 1969.
Since then, it has been established as a national public holiday and is celebrated annually on the third Monday in October.
As such, this year it will fall on the 20th of October 2018. The main purpose of the National Heroes’ Day celebration is geared towards paying tribute to those who fought against oppression, whether it be fighting against slavery or fighting for citizens’ rights.
One can agree that the efforts of these brave persons have laid the foundation onto which Jamaica is now built upon.
During this day, Jamaicans from all over the country come together to pay tribute to our national heroes and heroine.
We have identified seven individuals who have been deemed worthy of being labelled as a hero (or heroine), the highest honor in Jamaica.
- Marcus Mosiah Garvey
- Norman Washington Manley
- Nanny of the Maroons (The Single Heroine)
- Paul Bogle
- Samuel Sharpe
- Sir Alexander Bustamante &
- George William Gordon
Be sure to read more on these distinguished Jamaicans here
National Heroes Day Ceremony And Awards
Although major focus is placed on these seven, the annual celebration also acknowledges present citizens who have contributed to Jamaica, whether it be through sports, business, music, education, community service, brave act
and other contribution to the development of Jamaica.
They are officially acknowledged at the National Heroes’ Day Salute and Award Ceremony
(the main celebration of the day) hosted at the lawns of the King’s House, the official residence of the Governor General of Jamaica.
The ceremony is presided over by the Governor General at that point in time.
At this ceremony, various categories of national awards and honours are bestowed upon Jamaicans in accordance with the National Honours and Awards Act.
The categories of honours and awards that are usually awarded at the auspicious ceremony includes:
- Order of Jamaica,
- Order of Merit,
- Order of Distinction,
- Badge of Honour for Meritorious and Long and Faithful Service, and
- Medal of Honour for Meritorious Service.
Read more on the types of National Awards In Jamaica here
The awardees are awarded in accordance to what they have contributed to Jamaica.
This lavish ceremony, which often includes performances from local talent, is usually broadcasted on local television and streamed online for those who cannot be physically present for the ceremony.
And that's my saving grace, I live all the way in Montego Bay so I usually watch the televised broadcast with my family each year.
In addition to this ceremony, local parishes also host their individual award ceremonies where noble citizens are presented with accolades.
Heroes Day Messages
The Heroes’ Day celebration also gives the nation a chance to hear from its leaders.
Official National Heroes’ Day messages from national leaders is usually presented to the public in televised form, printed media or both.
The Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and Governor General are usually the ones to send Heroes’ day greetings to the people of Jamaica.
Other than acknowledging those who have done the country proud, National Heroes’ Day seeks to embed and rejuvenate a sense of national pride and acts as a means of encouraging other Jamaicans to be proud of who they are and where they are coming from.
I hope I answered you question sufficiently.
See also: Places In Jamaica Named After Our National Heroes
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