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Emancipation Day

Emancipation Day 2024, 2025 and 2026 in Barbados

Emancipation Day is celebrated as a national public holiday every 1 August in Barbados. If, however, the first day of August is a Monday, then Emancipation Day is moved to 2 August because Kadooment Day falls on the first Monday of August.

20241 AugThuEmancipation Day
20251 AugFriEmancipation Day
20261 AugSatEmancipation Day
Please scroll down to end of page for previous years' dates.

Emancipation Day commemorates the abolition of slavery in Barbados on 1 August in the year 1834. This was the implementation of the British Slavery Abolition Act of 1833. And it took until 1838 before many were actually able to leave the sugar plantations because of a provision where they stayed on working “for room and board” an extra four years”.

Since the mid-1600s, Barbados had been a British colony and, sadly, a hub of slavery and the slave trade. The slave trade was abolished in 1807, but it took three more decades before slavery itself came to end in the British Empire.

There had been a failed slave revolt in Barbados in 1816 led by a man named Bussa. Bussa’s statue is on display today in Barbados’ Emancipation Roundabout. It is at this roundabout that Emancipation Day events take place each year, including parades and speeches. Many also attend the annual Beach Fest or the Emancipation Day Walk.

Previous Years

20231 AugTueEmancipation Day
20221 AugMonEmancipation Day
2 AugTueEmancipation Day Holiday