ThuJul 1

International Reggae Day – July 1, 2021

International Reggae Day is celebrated each year on July 1, 2021. The music genre finds its roots etched in Jamaica and is an integral part of the country’s culture. Reggae is a mix of rhythm and blues, calypso, African, and Latin American music. The music is characterized by a heavy four-beat rhythm, which is carried out by drums, congas, bass guitars, and electric guitars. Reggae music also uses a scraper, which is a corrugated stick that the musician rubs with a plain stick.

History of International Reggae Day

International Reggae Day is an annual event celebrated in Kingston, Jamaica. It appreciates this style of music that was brought into the world by the Caribbean. While it started there, it eventually spread into every corner of the world and struck a chord with music lovers with its easy and relaxed rhythm. 

This musical holiday was founded by Andrea Davis to create an annual global reggae party. She envisaged such an event after a visit to Kingston in 1991. Whilst there, she heard a speech by Winnie Mandela on the inspiration reggae music has given to the people of South Africa in their fight against apartheid. Thus, the very first International Reggae Day was held on July 1, 1994. Many people now express that reggae music has truly served as a voice for the oppressed and an emotional outlet. 

Born in Jamaica, reggae music is now especially popular in the United States, Great Britain, and Africa. This music genre has seen some great personalities taking it to new heights and making it extremely popular. The renowned Bob Marley and the Wailers are considered the most iconic reggae artists ever, owing to their efforts in bringing reggae music to the international stage.

International Reggae Day is celebrated with much gusto and fanfare keeping the spirit of the music intact. The event sees thousands of fans and musicians flocking to the country from different parts of the world to celebrate the amazing history of reggae music, its people, and its culture. 

 

International Reggae Day timeline

1960s
Reggae Becomes Popular

Reggae music develops and evolves into a popular style of music.

1968
The Term ‘Reggae’ is Used

The song ‘Do the Reggay’ by Toots and the Maytals becomes the first popular song to use the word ‘reggae.’

1970s
Reggae goes International

Reggae music becomes known around the world especially in Britain, the United States, and Africa.

2018
UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage List

UNESCO adds the ‘reggae music of Jamaica’ to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

International Reggae Day FAQs

What is reggae short for?

According to Bob Marley, the word ‘reggae’ comes from a Spanish term for ‘the king’s music.’ A compilation of Christian gospel reggae, also suggests that the word reggae came from the Latin ‘regi’ meaning ‘to the king.’

Who are some of the biggest reggae stars?

One of the most popular reggae stars needs no introduction — Bob Marley. Some of the other popular stars are Desmond Dekker, Sizzla, Steel Pulse, among others. 

Is reggae still popular today?

While reggae may not be a commercially popular genre, it inspires countless other songs. Most importantly, in its home base of Jamaica, reggae is still a big deal.

International Reggae Day Activities

  1. Attend a Reggae concert

    On International Reggae Day every year, Kingston, Jamaica, hosts the International Reggae Festival. Not only that but many concerts are held around the world such as in the Bahamas, South Africa, Kenya, Brazil, the United Kingdom. You can choose to attend any of the concerts taking place in different parts of the world and immerse yourself in the spirit of this music.

  2. Host a Caribbean themed party

    Host a Caribbean-themed party at your house. Turn up some reggae music in the background, add a culinary twist by cooking Caribbean delicacies, and enjoy the spirit of the festival.

  3. Watch a documentary

    There are many documentaries available online that will help you understand the evolution of reggae music and culture. One such is “Reggae: The Story of Jamaican Music” or “Roots, Reggae, Rebellion.” You can discuss the documentary with your friends and family and spread the word.

5 Facts About Reggae That Will Have You Jammin’

  1. Reggae month

    The Caribbeans celebrate February as Reggae Month.

  2. Reggae festivals

    Every year, there are over 2,000 events held across the world to celebrate reggae music.

  3. Reggaeton

    Reggaeton music is a blend of reggae and dancehall and is quite popular in Latin America.

  4. Reggae is made of a holy trinity

    It consists of emotional depth, the lightness and the intensity of ska music, and the holy ghost.

  5. Reggae’s essential instruments

    The six instruments used to create reggae music are the drums, bass guitar, keyboards, brass instruments, and singers.

Why We Love International Reggae Day

  1. It is a form of expression

    Reggae music is one of the few folk music genres that is still in existence. Reggae has been used by people to express their experiences, emotions, traditions, life, and has served as an emotional outlet for the people of Jamaica.

  2. Reggae is a global music experience

    Reggae has become widely popular across the world and many of them have incorporated their own local instruments to create the music. They are also fusing it with other genres to create a unique music experience.

  3. Reggae music is relaxing

    Reggae music evokes a sense of calmness. Although this music genre is a form of expression, it helps one develop self-esteem, boost creativity, and puts one at ease.

International Reggae Day dates

YearDateDay
2021July 1Thursday
2022July 1Friday
2023July 1Saturday
2024July 1Monday
2025July 1Tuesday

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