A Day for Decoration and Dedication Liberia’s March 13th Decoration Day

A Day for Decoration and Dedication Liberia's March 13th Decoration Day

Every year on the second Wednesday of March, Liberia pauses to commemorate a special day – Decoration Day. This national holiday is a time for reflection, remembrance, and honoring the nation’s heroes.

Throughout its history, Liberia has faced numerous challenges, from its founding by freed African Americans to periods of civil war. Decoration Day serves as a crucial reminder of the sacrifices made by those who fought for the country’s freedom, prosperity, and stability.

Decoration Day offers an opportunity for Liberians to come together in unity and appreciation. It’s a day to celebrate the legacies of those who shaped the nation and to inspire future generations.

Origins and Significance

Decoration Day has deep historical roots, tracing back to the early days of Liberia’s existence. Let us delve into its origins and understand why this day is more than just a date on the calendar.

1. The Founding of Liberia

Liberia, established in the 19th century, was a beacon of hope for freed African-American slaves and freeborn African-Americans. These pioneers sought refuge and a fresh start on the shores of West Africa. They envisioned a land where they could build a new life, free from the shackles of slavery and discrimination.

2. Honoring the Departed

As the fledgling nation took shape, the settlers faced immense challenges—disease, hardship, and loss. Many succumbed to illness, their lives cut short as they toiled to establish a home in a foreign land. In the face of adversity, the tradition of Decoration Day emerged.

On March 13th each year, Liberians gather at cemeteries across the country. They bring flowers, wreaths, and other adornments to decorate the graves of their ancestors, family members, and national heroes. It is a solemn yet uplifting occasion—a testament to resilience and unity.

3. A Day of Reflection

Decoration Day is not merely about physical decorations. It is a day of reflection—a time to contemplate the sacrifices made by those who paved the way. Families share stories, recounting the struggles and triumphs of their forebears. The past comes alive, connecting generations and reinforcing the bonds of kinship.

4. Unity and Solidarity

In a nation with diverse ethnicities, languages, and traditions, Decoration Day transcends differences. Liberians of all backgrounds participate, standing side by side to honor their shared history. It is a powerful reminder that unity is essential for progress and resilience.

Celebrations and Customs

On this poignant day:

  • Graves are adorned: Colorful wreaths, ribbons, and flags transform grave sites into vibrant memorials.
  • Prayers and songs: Religious services are held, with hymns echoing through the cemeteries.
  • Family reunions: Relatives come together, renewing bonds and passing down stories to younger generations.
  • Community feasts: Liberians share meals, reinforcing their sense of community.
A Day for Decoration and Dedication Liberia's March 13th Decoration Day

Decoration Day is a vital tradition in Liberia. It fosters a sense of national identity and reminds everyone of the importance of dedication and sacrifice for the greater good. By remembering the past, Liberians can build a stronger future.


Decoration Day in Liberia is more than a ritual; it is a testament to the indomitable spirit of a nation. As the sun sets on March 13th, the decorations remain—a symbol of love, remembrance, and dedication. Through this annual tradition, Liberia honors its past, celebrates its present, and looks toward a brighter future.

Decoration Day is more than just a day off. It’s a cornerstone of Liberian national pride and a powerful testament to the enduring spirit of its people.