Freedom Day or Emancipation Day is celebrated in Guyana on August 1. Emancipation Day or Freedom Day, as it was earlier called, marks the abolition of slavery in 1834.
The end of the abolitionism brought about a new phase in Guyana; the villages started getting established, there was a struggle of the trade union movement and the opening of the hinterland through the pork knockers. Thus, there was an opening for civil services and artesian shops. Freedom Day kicked off indentured labor, which attracted the Portuguese, Chinese and East Indians to the country.
With the fall of slavery, there was a radical change in the colonial life. By 1838, the overall emancipation had come into action. The end of slavery had sparked several changes. Many former slaves swiftly departed the British plantation. Some of them shifted to villages and towns with a feeling that the field labor was inconsistent and degrading with freedom, whereas others accumulated their resources for purchasing the estates, which were abandoned, and helped in the creation of village societies.
Setting up of small settlements offered new communities constituting Afro-Guyanese people. They were given a chance to grow plants and sell the food themselves. Emancipation also had an effect in the start of many new ethnic groups in British Guyana. The count of Chinese people coming into the colony in between 1853 & 1912 was around 14,000.
Similar to the Portuguese ancestors, Chinese forsook plantations for retail trades and quickly were assimilated into the Guyanese communities. Such was the effect of the declaration of emancipation or “freedom”.
Guyana Emancipation Day Traditions and Activities
Freedom Day is marked as an important day, not only in the Guyanese calendar, but also on the entire global perspective. What established as a trading link or an open door policy in Guyana in 1830s has now taken up a global outlook.
Of the various positive effects of the announcement of emancipation, one was that it brought a significant end to slavery. It also boosted liberalization of trade. Today, Freedom day is celebrated in varied forms and flavor. It is no more confined to the freedom of slavery but, now, has widespread wings in almost every sphere of work. From the field of press to software to economic activities, Freedom Day has a different meaning to every sphere. For instance, there is separate software Freedom Day celebrated worldwide on September 27.
Similarly there also exists World Press Freedom Day, which is celebrated on May 3. The celebrations of Freedom Day, therefore, vary from sector to sector. In the lands of Guyana, August 1 is still celebrated as Emancipation (Freedom) Day and is observed as a public holiday. There is no overwhelming celebration on this date, but it has sheer significance and value for the Guyanese people…..and the world alike.