Culture and patriotism encouraged for 41st Independence anniversary celebrations

The country marks Independence Day on November 1 (Photos courtesy Antigua and Barbuda Festivals Commission)
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By Makeida Antonio

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“There are so many ways residents can display their patriotism,” said the Ministry of Creative Industries and Innovation, as the country prepares to celebrate 41 years of Independence.

The ministry recently released its action-packed Independence schedule of events which commenced on Saturday and will continue until November 1.

Ministry spokeswoman Cecilia Thwaites said much-missed events such as the National Youth Rally and the Independence Day Food Fair will return, adding that the government invites all nationals and residents to participate and showcase their pride and love of country during the Independence season.

“It’s a milestone for our political Independence. It’s just like celebrating a birthday; each year you celebrate how God has blessed you to get to this place,” she said in an interview over the weekend.

The ministry staged Barbuda Day on Saturday and a beach day yesterday. The schedule continues today with a ‘golden age celebration’, followed by national community day and a Community Players 70th Anniversary Concert at the Dean William Lake Cultural Centre tomorrow.

On Wednesday, dignitaries will gather at Heroes Park for the national heroes’ wreath-laying ceremony and schools will host their individual Independence programmes. The National Youth Rally will be held on Thursday followed by a youth concert later that day.

National Dress Day and Flag Day will be celebrated later this week on Friday and an evening of drama will return to the Dean William Lake Cultural Centre on Saturday. Events continue with a thanksgiving church service on Sunday at the Cathedral of St John the Divine and a gospel concert at the Antigua Recreation Ground that evening.

Schools Panorama is back on the line up and is scheduled to take place on October 31.

The grand finale of the national ceremonial parade and awards will take place on the morning of Independence Day and the food fair throughout the day on November 1.

“We are coming back with a strong effort. We are having the National Dress and Flag Day on October 27 and we do hope that the public can be a part of that in its entirety, showing off the madras in different styles and fashion and having the flag to show that pride,” Twaites added.

Barbuda is very much a part of the Independence celebrations. On November 1, for the first time, there will be a food fair on the sister isle. The celebrations on Barbuda will continue with a ceremonial parade starting at 3pm.

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