Every 4 July is “Liberation Day” in Rwanda. This public holiday celebrates the overthrow, in 1994, of the genocidal regime that massacred somewhere between half a million and a million people in only a matter of months.
|2022||4 Jul||Mon||Liberation Day|
|2023||4 Jul||Tue||Liberation Day|
|2024||4 Jul||Thu||Liberation Day|
|Please scroll down to end of page for previous years' dates.|
European colonial powers often pitted people groups and classes against each other as a means of “indirect rule” to make their job of governing the colony easier. In Rwanda, this strategy generated animosity between the Hutu and Tutsi classes. Upon independence from Belgium, this division continued.
In 1994, Hutus rose up against the ruling Tutsi class and massacred both them and Hutus who did not approve of their actions. They assassinated the president of Rwanda and the president of neighbouring Burundi. Finally, the Rwandan Patriotic Front rose up and defeated this genocidal rebel group, but only after hundreds of thousands had died.
On Liberation Day, Rwanda is full of patriotic and solemn speeches, cultural events, special ceremonies, parades and concerts, and sports matches. It is a time of both festivity and of somber reflection on the tragic occurrences of the past.
|2021||4 Jul||Sun||Liberation Day|
|5 Jul||Mon||Liberation Day Holiday|
|2020||4 Jul||Sat||Liberation Day|
|6 Jul||Mon||Liberation Day Holiday|
|2019||4 Jul||Thu||Liberation Day|
|2018||4 Jul||Wed||Liberation Day|
|2017||4 Jul||Tue||Liberation Day|