Emancipation Day is celebrated in Bermuda on the Thursday preceding the first Monday in August. That puts it in late July or early August, right in the middle of summer, and encourages people to get out and celebrate amid the sunny, warm weather.
|2020||30 Jul||Thu||Emancipation Day|
|2021||29 Jul||Thu||Emancipation Day|
|2022||28 Jul||Thu||Emancipation Day|
Emancipation Day is also the first day in the much anticipated Cricket Cup cricket match, which lasts for two days. The second day is referred to as Somers Day and is also generally taken off work. In fact, before these two days were holidays, workers often skipped out to attend Cricket Cup anyway.
The first slaves arrived in Bermuda in the 1600’s, and slavery continued on the island until 1834, when it was abolished throughout all the British Empire. The slave trade had been outlawed in 1807. The slave system was banished in 1834 based on the Slavery Abolition Act passed the year before.
The date of Emancipation Day is generally based on the timing of the freeing of the slaves on the island, but the exact date was tweaked to make it always land on a Thursday. In effect, since Friday is Somers Day, many people get a four-day weekend.
And in Bermuda, cricket is so wildly popular that the annual Emancipation Day match between two of the main local cricket clubs is a highlight of the year. And it has been since Cup Match was first held in 1902.