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Labour Day in Jamaica

National Holiday in Jamaica

Labour Day in Jamaica is celebrated on 23 May

When is Labour Day in Jamaica?

How long until Labour Day?
This holiday next takes place in 182 Days.
Dates of Labour Day
Year Weekday Date
2019 Thursday May 23rd
2018 Wednesday May 23rd
2017 Tuesday May 23rd
2016 Monday May 23rd
2015 Monday May 25th
Duration
1 Day
Summary
Replaced Empire Day in 1961. Marks a labour rebellion in 1938

This national holiday is celebrated on 23 May. If Labour Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, it will be observed on the following Monday.

Labour Day in Jamaica commemorates a labour rebellion in 1938 that contributed to Jamaican independence.

History of Labour Day in Jamaica

As part of the British Empire, Jamaica had historically had a public holiday on 24 May to mark Queen Victoria's birthday. This holiday was known as Empire Day. Empire Day was renamed Commonwealth Day in the 1950's, but is still celebrated as Victoria Day in most regions of Canada.

In 1962, Jamaica gained its independence from the United Kingdom. Celebrating Empire Day was no longer seen as relevant to the fledgling country and in 1961, Jamaican Chief Minister Norman Washington Manley proposed replacing Empire Day with a new holiday called Labour Day.

This new holiday was to be a commemoration of a labour rebellion on 23 May 1938. The rebellion was led by Alexander Bustamante who gained prominence during the rebellion, becoming a noted trade union leader and eventually becoming Jamaica's first prime minster following independence.

In 1972, Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley started the movement to make Labour Day a day when Jamaicans would get involved in local community projects. Today, on Labour Day, groups, individuals, and communities all over Jamaica will dedicate their time and labour to improve public areas, do repairs, paint or build homes, schools and churches.


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