In commemoration of the Christmas Rebellion of 1831, the annual “Flames of Freedom Celebration” was held at Sam Sharpe Square in Montego Bay, St. James, on Friday.

The annual celebration shines a light on the significance of the Rebellion and the role Sam Sharpe played in the abolition of slavery.

The188th anniversary of the 1831 Christmas Rebellion saw the enactment of the revolt, with the lighting of torches and setting fire to a trash house.

Back then workers demanded more freedom plus a wage and refused to work until their demands were met.

The passive rebellion led by Samuel Sharpe, however, turned into a violent conflict signaled by a fire on the Kensington Estate.

Mayor of Montego Bay, Homer Davis, is urging Jamaicans, to be more appreciative of the legacy left by Sharpe.

He said the freedom that the country enjoys today is due to the efforts of Sam Sharpe’s fight for liberty.

“I want us to spare a moment and reflect on what ‘Daddy Sharpe’ did in 1831 through a slave rebellion which led to Jamaica becoming a free nation,” Mayor Davis said.

“Our ancestors suffered a lot as they paved the way for us to live as free Jamaicans with rights, which we sometimes take for granted while other people in other parts of the world continue only to dream of having these rights,” he added.

The Christmas Rebellion was the most serious revolt to rock colonial Jamaica. Its impact was a catalyst for the passing of the abolition act in 1834, and in 1838 slavery was abolished.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange announced that her Ministry had started the process of formalizing December 27 as “Sam Sharpe Day”

She adds that this celebration enhances Brand Jamaica and that there is an opportunity to benefit economically.

Approximately 500 people were executed, including Sam Sharpe.

His last words are believed to have been… “I would rather die upon yonder gallows than to live in slavery”.