The Festivals Commission has been forced to scale down events commemorating the country’s 40th anniversary of political independence, to be celebrated under the theme Resilience, Reflection and Recovery. This is the second consecutive year that such a decision has been made on account of the strictures of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commission is promoting it’s schedule of events, but some of the more popular happenings, including the National Youth Rally, National Junior Panorama Competition, Independence Fashion Show, and the National Food Fair have been left out this year. In spite of this, the Festivals Commission is encouraging food vendors, and restaurants, to continue the tradition of preparing scrumptious local cuisine across the island on November 1, for take-away service.
Despite the pandemic, says Daryll Matthew, the Minister with responsibility for Education, Sports, and the Creative Industries, the Ministry fully intends to keep the Independence spirit alive for this milestone celebration. Matthew says that this year, in addition to the National Dress Day slated for Friday, October 29, a new initiative dubbed National Flag Day will be staged on Thursday, October 28, and Saturday, October 30, respectively.
On this day, he says, all citizens and residents, including nationals in the Diaspora, are being encouraged to show patriotism by displaying, or wearing, themed attire, representing the national flag. Matthew says he is expecting that persons will display the flag on their vehicles, on all homes and office buildings, “and, even more, populating every social media platform.”
Flag-distribution outlets will be announced for persons who wish to obtain the flags, he says. This year’s calendar of events commences on Friday, October 22, with a Media Day and culminates on Monday, November 1, with the Independence Ceremonial Parade and Awards at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium at 5 p.m. Other events include the launch of the Independence Magazine, the Festivals of Choir, Barbuda Day Activities, Wadadli Warri War, and the National Service of Thanksgiving.