Grenada Thanksgiving Day: October 25
Grenada Celebrates Thanksgiving Day as a National Holiday
In Grenada, Thanksgiving Day is a public holiday that commemorates the anniversary of the 1983 Caribbean and American military intervention in Grenada. A joint military force arrived in Grenada on Oct 25th to restore stability to the country following the deaths of then Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and some of his colleagues.
Grenada Thanksgiving Day History
Grenada attained the status of “Associated State of the United Kingdom” in 1967. In 1974, independence was granted with Sir Eric Matthew Gairy as the first Prime Minister of Grenada. Conflict between Eric Gairy’s government and some opposition parties gradually broke out including the New Jewel Movement (NJM). In 1976, Gairy’s party won elections but the opposition party did not acknowledge the outcome. The opposition accused Gairy of election fraud. Maurice Bishop and his New Jewel Movement launched a paramilitary attack on the government in 1979 resulting in its overthrow. Even though the constitution was suspended agrarian reforms started by the Gairy government were continued under the reign of Maurice Bishop.
Bernard Coard and his wife Phyllis with backing of the Grenadian Army, led a coup against the government of Maurice Bishop on October 19, 1983. Bishop was later placed under house arrest. These events were followed by street demonstrations in various locations in the island. Bishop had enjoyed strong support from the populace. Later he was freed by a large demonstration in the capital. Coard had Bishop captured and executed by soldiers along with his cabinet ministers. The regime of Coard then put the island under martial law.
U.S. President Ronald Reagan became worried because a communist leaning government overthrew a moderate one. Another concern was Cuban military personnel building a 10,000-foot airstrip on Grenada. Reagan was also worried about the security of the 800 American medical students enrolled at St. George’s School of Medicine in the island. Reagan and his advisers saw that rescuing the students was enough justification to invade the island.
In an operation codenamed Operation Urgent Fury, Grenada was invaded by the allied forces from the United States, the Regional Security System (RSS) and Jamaica on October 25.
Grenada Thanksgiving Day Traditions, Customs and Activities
Thanksgiving Day in Grenada is commemorated by formal ceremonies although the event is largely not given much attention in the rural communities.