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Windrush Day in the United Kingdom

On June 22 every year, the UK celebrates Windrush Day to honor the British Caribbean community. The observance was first introduced in 2018.

Caribbean dancer at Notting Hill Carnival, London.

©iStockphoto.com/Moussa81

Is Windrush Day a Public Holiday?

No. While Windrush Day features a large variety of events around the country, it is not a bank holiday in the UK.

The Windrush Generation

Following the losses of World War II, Britain was in dire need of laborers. This prompted a campaign to entice people from the countries of the British Empire and Commonwealth to immigrate to the UK.

On June 22, 1948, the ship HMT Empire Windrush landed at Tilbury Docks, just east of London, bringing with it the first immigrants from the Caribbean. The ship's name inspired the term, the Windrush Generation, to denote the large-scale influx of Caribbean immigrants during the years that followed.

Racism and Prejudice

While the Windrush Generation and their descendants are today honored for their immense contributions to British society following the trauma of the Second World War, the first Afro-Caribbean immigrants were met with extreme intolerance from large parts of the white population. Having initially been encouraged to settle in the UK and take up employment to relieve the labor market by the authorities, many early immigrants were denied access to private employment and accommodation on account of their skin color. Black people were also banished from many pubs, clubs, and even churches.

From today's perspective, the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush is considered a major landmark not only for the country's recovery from the turmoil of war, but also for the establishment of modern British multicultural society.

Windrush Day Events

Windrush Day was introduced in 2018, on the 70th anniversary of the landing of the first Caribbean migrants, for the purpose of “encouraging communities across the country to celebrate the contribution of the Windrush Generation and their descendants,” according to the UK government. Backed by government funding, the day features a large variety of activities, including dance performances, exhibitions, and debates.

Windrush Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2018FriJun 22Windrush DayObservance
2019SatJun 22Windrush DayObservance
2020MonJun 22Windrush DayObservance
2021TueJun 22Windrush DayObservance
2022WedJun 22Windrush DayObservance
2023ThuJun 22Windrush DayObservance
2024SatJun 22Windrush DayObservance
2025SunJun 22Windrush DayObservance

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