Arrival Day is an official public holiday in Guyana that is observed every 5 May. It commemorates the beginning of the arrival of numerous indentured servants of diverse ethnic heritages to Guyana.
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Originally, this holiday was known as Indian Arrival Day and celebrated specifically the arrival of people of Indian ancestry to Guyana on 5 May, 1838. However, the meaning of the holiday was later broadened to include all ethnic groups that came as indentured servants to replace slave labour on the sugar plantations after the abolition of slavery in the British Empire.
Many Chinese and other immigrants soon also came to Guyana as indentured servants, but the bulk came from India, which is why over 40 percent of Guyana’s population today is of Indian descent. And Arrival Day celebrations are strongest in Indian communities in Guyana, where cultural shows and exhibits have long been put on every 5 May.
Arrival Day is a day when the people of Guyana remember their diverse heritage but also their nation’s motto: One people, one nation, one destiny.