Happy Independence Day, Ghana!
Ghana Independence Day is an important day for Ghanaians worldwide. The national flag is flown, Ghana freedom music is played, and the world celebrates the independence Ghana achieved. Our team here at Remitly celebrates with Ghana and has compiled this guide to explain some of the history surrounding this important day. Here is what we love about the holiday and what we’ve learned.
After 83 years of British colonial rule, Ghana established itself as a free African nation on 6th March 1957. Today, over 30 million people and over 90 ethnic groups call this dazzling sub-Saharan country home. And another 1.7 million Ghanaians living abroad frequently return to visit family and friends.
For the people of Ghana, Independence Day holds a special place in their hearts. Many can still remember the First Prime Minister, Kwame Nkrumah’s powerful speech on Ghanaian freedom in Accra, as the British flag was lowered and the new Ghanaian flag took its place. And over the years, foreign dignitaries visited the country to take part in the celebrations, including Martin Luther King Jr.
A Brief History of Ghana Independence Day
Before Independence Day, Ghana was known as the Gold Coast. The name, originally coined by Portuguese Traders, continued under British rule. The name was fitting for the colonial powers, as the region was rich in gold, ivory, and other natural resources.
Britain’s power over its colonies began to weaken in the aftermath of World War II. Pan-African nationalism further encouraged the fight for freedom. Over time, different local politicians took up the struggle.
The United Gold Coast Convention called for freedom in 1947, and by 1952, Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah led the United Gold Coast government.
On March 6, 1957, Ghana was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence. And it inspired other African countries to continue their struggle for freedom.
6 Facts About Ghana Independence Day Celebrations
1. Black Star Square is the place to be.
Every year there is an Independence Day parade at Black Star Square, also known as Independence Square, in the nation’s capital, Accra. However, over the past few years, the celebration has also been in different cities, Tamale and Kumasi, for the first time. But Black Star Square is still a popular celebration destination no matter where the parade is held.
2. Spending time with family is key.
Since Independence Day is a public holiday, it’s a great time to relax with friends and family. Besides watching the solidarity speech given by the current President of Ghana, Ghanaians can take a break, enjoy delicious food, and partake in the local festivities.
3. Ghana’s flag holds deep significance.
It’s common to see citizens waving or raising the Ghanaian flag during independence celebrations. The symbolism is directly linked to the country’s struggle for freedom:
- The black star represents African freedom
- Red is used to memorialize the freedom fighters
- Gold symbolizes the abundant minerals found in Ghana
- Green represents the beautiful forests and wildlife
4. It’s important to remember Ghana’s past.
Many Ghanaians may choose to remember the struggle for freedom in Ghana during the independence day holiday. Whether it’s singing songs about independence, listening to Kwame Nkrumah’s speeches, or reading Martin Luther King’s sermon on the Ghanaian struggle in The Birth of a Nation, there are many ways to recall the past inside and outside of Ghana.
5. Independence brought a name change.
Independence Day in Ghana is also the day that the country ditched the colonial name, “British Gold Coast.”
Ghana literally means “warrior,” and it was the name of an ancient civilization that also included Mauritania, Senegal, and Mali.
6. Every celebration has a theme.
Each Independence Day celebration is given a theme, and there are usually a collection of national and local programs to commemorate the day. This can include fitness campaigns, trivia contests, prayer sessions, parades, and memorials.
Ghana Independence Day Celebrations in 2023
- 2023 marks the 66th year of independence from British rule.
- The Volta Region is said to be this year’s Ghanaian Independence Day location.
- President H.E. Anna Bossman gave a speech acknowledging Ghana’s 2023 theme as “Our unity; Our strength; Our purpose.”
How to celebrate Ghana’s Independence Day abroad
You may miss celebrating Ghanaian Independence Day with family and friends if you are away from home. The good news is that there are many ways you can commemorate the occasion – even if you are living thousands of kilometers away.
Here are just a few ways you can enjoy the holiday:
- Cook your favorite Ghanaian dishes, whether that’s waakye, jollof rice, kenkey, or fufu.
- Video call with your friends and family. You can even watch a movie together, share a meal, or simply swap stories.
- Send family or friends a care package to let them know you are thinking of them.
- Have a group dinner with other Ghanaian expats in your area.
- Dress up. Independence Day is a great excuse to wear your favorite kente, kaba and slit, or kaftan. Or just relax in a comfy pair of jokoto.
- Find a local Ghana Independence celebration if you’re in an area with a large Ghanaian community. The New York/New Jersey area, for instance, has a ton of Ghana-related events surrounding March 6th, including dance parties and food festivals. London is the site of musical celebrations featuring top Ghanaian artists.
We know that traveling can be difficult and costly, so it may be hard to return to Ghana to celebrate this year. But even if you can’t be there in person, you can still send gifts to family and friends back home. Remitly is here if you need to send money to Ghana or over 100 other countries quickly and safely.