In honor of the many African ancestors who resisted enslavement on the island of Trinidad, the Committee for the Commemoration of Emancipation Day New York (CCEDNY), in conjunction with New York’s Consulate General for the Republic of Trinidad, held an Emancipation Day event in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, on Saturday, Aug. 4.
In Trinidad, the national holiday of Emancipation Day serves as a reminder of the end of slavery in Trinidad and Tobago. Established in 1985, Trinidad and Tobago was the first nation have a holiday celebrating the abolishment of slavery.
Understanding that many of New York’s residents have ties to Trinidad due to birth and other family connections, CCEDNY decided to have a celebration in New York City as well. African culture was present and the ancestors were honored! The ceremony began with a drum call and march to the Village, Homers Yard, the name for the area where the celebration would take place.
After the drum call, libation was poured in honor of the African ancestors. This particular libation was done in the language and cultural tradition of the Yoruba that had found its way from West Africa to Trinidad since Africans were forcibly taken from our Homeland. Despite centuries of separation, the practice of Ifa continues in Trinidad.
An introduction on the importance of Emancipation Day was given by the Consulate General of Trinidad Rudrawatee Nan Ramgoolam. The festivities continued on with cultural presentations and honors to African heritage and culture.