On August 1, 1838, the enslaved Africans throughout the British Empire in the Caribbean were freed from slavery. In Trinidad and Tobago August 1, 1985, Emancipation Day was declared a national holiday and has since grown into a major national festival, where 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. Other activities include an art exhibition, lectures by prominent Pan African scholars, opportunities for networking and business development opportunities within the emancipation village.
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.