National Heritage Day around the world in 2023

National Heritage Day around the world in 2023

  How long until National Heritage Day?
National Heritage Day
  Dates of National Heritage Day around the world
2024 Turks and Caicos IslandsOct 14
Turks and Caicos Islands Mon, Oct 14National Holiday
2023 Turks and Caicos IslandsOct 9
Turks and Caicos Islands Mon, Oct 9National Holiday
2022 Turks and Caicos IslandsOct 10
Turks and Caicos Islands Mon, Oct 10National Holiday
2021 Turks and Caicos IslandsOct 11
Turks and Caicos Islands Mon, Oct 11National Holiday
2020 Turks and Caicos IslandsOct 12
Turks and Caicos Islands Mon, Oct 12National Holiday

This holiday replaced Columbus Day in 2014, which was also held on the second Monday In October. This holiday honours the natural, historical and cultural heritage of the islands

Related holidays

When is National Heritage Day?

National Heritage Day is a public holiday in Turks and Caicos Islands on the second Monday in October.

This holiday is the focal point of a month-long calendar of festivities that take place to honour and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the islands.

History of National Heritage Day

Though he didn't document it in detail, it is thought that Christopher Columbus was the first European to sight the islands during his first voyage of discovery in 1492.

This event was reason enough for this British Overseas Territory to mark Columbus' arrival in the new world with a public holiday on October 12th, the date of his landing in the nearby Bahamas in 1492.

This was a common holiday in the Caribbean and Latin America, and like many of those other regions, Turks and Caicos has moved away from celebrating the arrival of the Europeans, and used the date to widen the acknowledgement of the momentous and in some cases, devastating, impact that the meeting of the old and new world had on the region and redefined its heritage.

When Columbus sailed by, the islands were populated by Taino and Lucayan Indians, who had arrived some 700 years earlier.

Did you know?

The name of the country comes from its earliest inhabitants.  According to the Turks and Caicos Tourism, Turks is a reference to the indigenous Turk’s head cactus and Caicos is from the Lucayan term “caya hico” meaning string of islands.

The arrival of the Europeans on the island at the turn of the 16th century was catastrophic for the local Indians. While they didn't die directly at the hands of the Europeans, their lack of resistance to the diseases brought from the east proved just as deadly and wiped out the local population.

The settlers also brought African slaves who would later gain their freedom. Today nearly 90% of the population of the territory is of African descent.

Clearly it was felt that the rich heritage of the islands wasn't represented by commemorating Columbus. Therefore, in 2014, Columbus Day was replaced by National Heritage Day.

Festivities aren't restricted to the second Monday in October as since 2014, October has been celebrated as National Heritage Month and a wide variety of fun and interesting take place to celebrate the heritage of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

In the Bahamas, where Columbus made landfall, Columbus Day is now celebrated as National Heroes Day.

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