On March 6, 1957, Ghana declared itself to be a free African republic after 83 years of British colonial control. Today, more than 30 million people from more than 90 different ethnic groups live in this fascinating sub-Saharan nation. Additionally, 1.7 million Ghanaians who reside overseas frequently fly home to see friends and relatives.
Ghanaians have a particular place in their hearts on Independence Day. Many people still recall Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first prime minister, giving a stirring speech about the country’s freedom in Accra as the British flag was down and the new national flag was raised. Martin Luther King Jr. was among the foreign leaders who came to the nation over the years to join in the festivities.
Remitly is grateful to have been able to celebrate with so many of its Ghanaian users. As sponsors of the 65th-anniversary commemoration of Ghana’s independence in New York, organized by the National Council of Ghanaian Associations, we even get to participate in the festivities in person this year. Here are some of the holiday’s best qualities and what we’ve learned.
A Synopsis of Ghana Independence Day’s History
Before January 1, 1957, Ghana was referred to as the Gold Coast. Under British authority, the term, which was first used by Portuguese traders, persisted. Given the abundance of gold, ivory, and other natural resources in the area, the name seemed appropriate for the colonial powers. Following World War II, Britain’s control over its colonies started to wane. The struggle for freedom was further bolstered by pan-African nationalism. Over time, several local politicians joined the conflict.
In 1947, the United Gold Coast Convention advocated for liberation; by 1952, Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah was in charge of the country. Ghana became the first nation in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve independence on March 6, 1957. It also encouraged other African nations to continue their fight for independence.
Facts About Ghana Independence Day Celebrations
Ghana Independence Day, celebrated on March 6th each year, marks the anniversary of Ghana’s independence from British colonial rule in 1957. It is a significant national holiday in Ghana, and the celebrations are filled with cultural events, parades, and historical significance. Here are seven facts about Ghana Independence Day celebrations:
Ghana Independence Day commemorates the moment when Ghana became the first sub-Saharan African country to gain independence from colonial rule. Kwame Nkrumah, the first Prime Minister and later President of Ghana, played a pivotal role in the country’s struggle for independence.
During Independence Day celebrations, Ghanaians often wear traditional clothing, including colorful kente cloth, which is a symbol of Ghana’s rich cultural heritage. Many people choose to don outfits made from this vibrant fabric.
One of the main highlights of Ghana’s Independence Day is the grand parade that takes place in the capital city, Accra. This parade features various groups, including schoolchildren, the military, cultural troupes, and government officials, all marching to celebrate the nation’s freedom.
The day typically begins with a flag-raising ceremony at the Independence Arch in Accra. The national flag of Ghana, with its red, yellow, green, and black stripes, is hoisted high, and the national anthem is sung with great pride and enthusiasm.
During celebrations of the country’s independence, it’s typical to see people raising or waving the Ghanaian flag. The significance is closely related to the nation’s quest for independence:
- The black star symbolizes African independence.
- The color red is chosen to honor the independence warriors.
- The plentiful minerals found in Ghana are represented by gold.
- Green symbolizes the lovely woodlands and fauna.
Independence Day celebrations also include vibrant cultural performances, traditional drumming, and dancing displays showcasing Ghana’s diverse ethnic groups. These performances are an integral part of the festivities, allowing Ghanaians to share and celebrate their rich cultural heritage.
Fireworks and Festivities
In the evening, fireworks displays light up the sky in major cities across Ghana. These colorful fireworks are a symbol of the joy and unity of the nation. Many people also participate in local street parties, concerts, and other festivities.
Reflection and Unity
Ghana Independence Day is not only a day of celebration but also a time for reflection on the nation’s progress and challenges. Political leaders often use this occasion to deliver speeches addressing the country’s current state and future aspirations, emphasizing unity and national pride.
How to observe Ghana’s Independence Day while traveling
If you are away from home, you can miss out on celebrating Ghana’s Independence Day with family and friends. The good news is that, even if you live thousands of kilometers away, there are numerous ways you can mark the occasion.
Here are a few ideas for how you can celebrate the holiday:
- Prepare your preferred Ghanaian cuisine, such as waakye, jollof rice, kenkey, or fufu.
- Make a video call to your loved ones. Together, you may even eat a meal, watch a movie, or just talk.
- To show your concern for them, send a care package to family or friends.
- Join other Ghanaian expats in your region for a group supper.
- Don’t wear a suit. Wear your preferred kente, Kaba, and slit, or kaftan on Independence Day. Or simply unwind while wearing some plush jokoto.
- If you live in a place with a sizable Ghanaian population, look for a local celebration of the country’s independence. For instance, there are numerous Ghana-related events in the New York/New Jersey region on March 6th, including dance parties and culinary festivals. Top Ghanaian musicians are performing at musical events in London.