At the beginning of August each year, Jamaica begins a period of celebrations and reflection as the nation commemorates the anniversaries of emancipation from slavery and its political independence. In celebration of these significant milestones in the nation’s history, recognition is shown to many different areas of the Jamaican culture. The context of the activities change each year but are always designed to commemorate their history and movement into Emancipation and Independence, and also garner a sense of belonging in its native people. The Independence Days events are a time when visitors and locals alike can celebrate the nation and its successes. The celebrations are diverse and are meant to appeal to Jamaicans of all ages, as well as visitors to the island.
One of the most family-oriented events that start off the week-long celebration is the Montego Bay Jerk Festival. This event lasts all-day outdoor event that showcases the culinary offerings of the island’s northern region and the parish of St. James. Jamaica’s Jerk Cuisine is the star of this show with both local and international chefs creating culinary masterpieces to please the crowds. Also since the venue of this outdoor cooking extravaganza is Montego Bay, the beautiful scenery is the perfect backdrop to have a picnic and spend the day at the beach. The Montego Bay Jerk Festival also highlights aspects of Jamaica’s cultural heritage through entertainment with live bands and performers on stage which is fun for the whole family.
Spicy Grilled Jerk Chicken on the barbecue
For party lovers headed to Jamaica during the first week in August, Dream Weekend is a long-awaited event for both locals and visitors. Dream Weekend is an annual event fused with a high energy vibe like none other. This international music festival takes over Negril each year at the height of the summer. As one of the many highlights of the Jamaican Independence holidays, the event is headlined by several of Jamaica’s most popular bands. This is a joyful event that includes food, activities, singing, and dancing.
Over the past few years, an average of 10 different events take place during the Independence Days celebrations and the Dream Weekend takes place on the beautiful white sand beach of Negril. Tickets to many of these events are sold via outlets in many locations including Florida, New York, Queens, Atlanta, Ontario & London. As this is one of the most popular weeks in Jamaica, it is recommended that bookings for hotels, restaurants, and events be made well in advance.