Thousands of students from across the island are expected to converge on the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium on Friday, February 22, for the first national Jamaica Day celebration.
Jamaica Day will be a celebration of the country’s culture and will feature a parade, a reading of the Jamaica Day Proclamation, drumming, performances by gospel choirs and other activities.
Speaking at a recent JIS Think, Director of the Culture in Education Programme in the Ministry of Education, Amina Blackwood-Meeks, said “a gala will be mounted [in the stadium] that will centre the students in the experiences that some of us had in 1962. ”
“We want to build a generation that will be centred in memories that will drive their understanding of their citizenship,” she stated.
Ms. Blackwood-Meeks told JIS News that the six education regions will be asked to mount displays depicting their interpretation of the Jamaica Day theme: ‘Celebrating Jamaica: I’m On It.’
This interpretation, she explained, will focus on their uniqueness, for example, “the region in which Trelawny falls, which has yam and Usain Bolt, they would have a different interpretation from the region in which St. Thomas Technical High School falls, being the place in Jamaica where the sun rises first, hence the name Golden Grove.”
Agencies such as the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica/Jamaica Memory Bank; Social Development Commission; Jamaica National Heritage Trust; Jamaica Cultural Development Commission; National Library of Jamaica; and the Jamaica Library Service are expected to participate.
Education Outreach Officer at the ACIJ, Tracian Meikle, told JIS News that, “on Jamaica Day, we will be putting on a display showcasing Jamaica’s culture.”
“It will focus on persons or groups that have really fought to make Jamaica what it is today. For example, we will have a display showcasing Maroon artefacts, the period of slavery, and abolitionists, who actually fought to make us free,” she said.
The event at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium is scheduled to start at 9:00 a.m. Aspects of the extravaganza will be transmitted live on CVM Television, which is one of the event partners.
Ms. Blackwood-Meeks said that in addition to the national event, schools will be requested to celebrate Jamaica Day in their own way.
“But whatever we do, we want to make sure we involve our communities, the Parent-Teacher Associations (PTA) our police, our youth clubs, our churches, and so on,” she stated.