Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

National Day of Benin – August 1, 2023

The National Day of Benin is a federal holiday observed on August 1 in the Republic of Benin. The holiday is celebrated annually to commemorate Benin receiving independence from the French colonial powers and becoming an independent nation-state.

History of National Day of Benin

Benin, a country in West Africa, is known for its rich culture and traditions. Before the slave trade picked up, the country comprised three large areas with distinct peoples who had their own unique cultures and practices.

The major city-states were along the coast — the Aja, Yoruba, and Gbe people lived along the coastline. Meanwhile, several tribes lived inland, including the Bariba, Mahi, Kabye, and Gedevi peoples. By 1600, the Kingdom of Dahomey was founded by the Fon people on the Abomey plateau, and soon it took over areas of the coast.

The Dahomey culture emphasized military preparation, with young boys apprenticed to soldiers and taught the kingdom’s military customs until they could join the army. The kings took war captives, sold them to transatlantic slave traders, and profited from their enslavement.

However, following the ban on the slave trade in 1807, the Kingdom of Dahomey began to lose power. The French colonialists in the region had already taken control of much of Western Africa and were also able to take over Dahomey in 1894. The area was incorporated into French West Africa and called French Dahomey.

Under French rule, Dahomey’s economy started to spiral downwards, and with the collapse of the colonial economy after World War II, the discontent among the people grew. Talks were held with France, which was under enormous debt due to WWII, about independence. After several sessions, France granted the Benin people independence on August 1, 1960.

National Day of Benin timeline

1500s
People Migrated to the Benin Region

The region now known as Benin is populated by the Yoruba, Aja, and Gbe peoples.

1700s
The Kingdom of Dahomey Is Established

The Fon people establish the Kingdom of Dahomey and then take over the coastline.

1892
The French Take Over Dahomey

The French colonial powers take over the failing Kingdom of Dahomey and incorporate it into French West Africa.

1960
Dahomey Gains Independence

Hubert Maga leads the politicians and people of Dahomey into securing independence from the French.

National Day of Benin FAQs

Did Benin fight for independence?

Benin fought for independence from the French colonizers through political means.

Why did Dahomey change to Benin?

The name of the state was changed from Dahomey to Benin in honor of the ancient kingdom of Benin in Nigeria.

Why is French spoken in Benin?

French is the official language of Benin because it was the language the Benin people used for over fifty years under French rule.

How to Observe National Day of Benin

  1. Share information about Benin

    You can learn more about Benin and its people on this holiday. Uncover Benin’s rich culture and history and share the information with your friends and family.

  2. Watch the celebrations

    The National Day of Benin is celebrated with boisterous parades and speeches. Watch the celebrations online or head to Benin to watch them live.

  3. Host a party

    Host a party for your friends from Benin or encourage them to host one at their homes. Make sure your food, music, and decor are on point.

5 Facts About Benin That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. It was known as ‘Black Sparta’

    The emphasis on military preparation in the Kingdom of Dahomey led it to be known as “Black Sparta.”

  2. Dahomey inspired the Black Panther comics

    The Dora Milaje in the black panther comics were inspired by the Ahosi — elite female soldier corps of the Dahomey Kingdom.

  3. It’s the birthplace of Voodoo

    Dahomey is the birthplace of the Voodoo religion, which is the official religion of modern Benin.

  4. The kings earned through the slave trade

    In the 1750s, the kings were earning 250,000 pounds off the transatlantic slave trade.

  5. Capital was built for the slave trade

    The capital city of Benin was called ‘Porto Novo,’ or the ‘New Port,’ and it was built to facilitate the slave trade.

Why National Day of Benin is Important

  1. It has a grand history

    Benin’s history shows the devastating consequences of slavery and the protracted struggle it took to gain independence. There are many lessons to learn from the brave Benin people.

  2. It celebrates the birthplace of Voodoo

    As the birthplace of Voodoo and the Black Panther, Benin is a country with a rich culture. The National Day of Benin allows us to celebrate Benin with all its quirks.

  3. It allows us to commemorate the people

    The Benin people were courageous, brave, and determined, and it is because of their bravery that Benin stands as a country. The National Day of Benin helps us commemorate those who struggled and lost their lives for the hope of independence.

National Day of Benin dates

YearDateDay
2023August 1Tuesday
2024August 1Thursday
2025August 1Friday
2026August 1Saturday
2027August 1Sunday
International Clown Week
National Minority Donor Awareness Week
World Breastfeeding Week
Albariño Day
Asahna Bucha Day
August Moon Festival
Benin Independence Day
Colorado Day
DOGust 1st: Universal Birthday for Shelter Dogs
Emancipation Day (Guyana)
Full Moon Day of Waso
Guadalcanal Province Day
Homemade Pie Day
International Can-It Forward Day
International Childfree Day
Lammas Day
Lughnasadh
National Andrew Day
National Day of Benin
National Girlfriend Day
National Minority Donor Awareness Day
National Night Out
National Promise to Care Day
National Raspberry Cream Pie Day
Planner Day
Play Ball Day
Respect For Parents Day
Rounds Resounding Day
Santo Domingo Celebrations Start
Santo Domingo Celebrations Start
Scout Scarf Day
Spider-Man Day
Start Up Day Across America
Switzerland National Day
Tu B'Av
Woman Astronomers Day
World Lung Cancer Day
World Wide Web Day
Yorkshire Day
American Adventures Month
American Artist Appreciation Month
Back to School Month
Black Business Month
Child Support Awareness Month
Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month
Family Fun Month
Gastroparesis Awareness Month
Happiness Happens Month
MedicAlert Awareness Month
Motorsports Awareness Month
National Breastfeeding Month
National Catfish Month
National Civility Month
National Eye Exam Month
National Goat Cheese Month
National Golf Month
National Hair Loss Awareness Month
National Immunization Awareness Month
National Language Month
National Panini Month
National Peach Month
National Sandwich Month
National Traffic Awareness Month
Psoriasis Awareness Month
Rawgust
Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month
Summer Sun Safety Month

Want to sponsor this holiday?

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.