National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving in Montserrat Date in the current year: July 10, 2024

National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving in Montserrat The National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving, also referred to as National Day of Prayer, Reflection and Thanksgiving, is a public holiday celebrated in the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat. It is observed every July to honor the victims of the catastrophic Soufrière Hills volcano eruption.

Montserrat is a small island in the Caribbean; it is part of the Leeward Islands alongside Antigua and Barbuda, Guadeloupe, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Martin, and the Virgin Islands. Montserrat is a British Overseas Territory with internal self-government.

The island of Montserrat was discovered in 1493 by Christopher Columbus, who named it Santa Maria de Montserrate after Our Lady of Montserrat. The first settlers on the island were Irishmen, who came here from nearby Saint Kitts and from Virginia in the 1630s. Due to the Irish ancestry of many of its inhabitants and its resemblance to coastal Ireland, Montserrat has earned the nickname “the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean”.

In 1666, Irish settlers invited France to claim the island so that the English wouldn’t do it first. However, the 1667 Treaty of Breada that ended the Second Anglo-Dutch War made the island an English possession. The English brought slaves from Sub-Saharan Africa to work on plantations producing sugar, rum, cotton, and arrowroot. Slavery was abolished in Montserrat in 1834, and plantations were gradually replaced by key lime orchards.

Until 1958, the island was administered as part of the British Leeward Islands (except for a brief period between 1816 and 1833 when the colony was split into two parts and Antigua, Barbuda and Montserrat were administered as a separate colony). Montserrat was then part of the short-lived West Indies Federation from 1958 to 1962 and became a separate overseas territory on May 31, 1962.

The eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano that started in 1995 was one of the most devastating events in the history of Montserrat. Dormant throughout most of the 20th century, the volcano began to erupt on July 18, 1995. In the two years that followed, the eruption destroyed the capital city of Plymouth and W. H. Bramble Airport, and rendered two-thirds of the island, now known as the exclusion zone, uninhabitable.

Due to the eruptions, many Montserratians fled the island and settled abroad, mainly in the UK. Montserrat lost two-thirds of its total population (about 7,000 people) between 1995 and 1997, although many residents have returned to the island over the past years. As of 2022, the estimated population of Montserrat was about 4,400 people. The island’s economy took a heavy hit and has been mostly subsidized by the British government ever since.

The government of Montserrat established the National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving to commemorate the start of the 1995 volcano eruption and honor the memory of its victims. It offers an opportunity to thank God for his blessings and ask for mercy towards Montserrat. The National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving is a public holiday observed annually in mid-July; the exact date is announced by the government beforehand. On the occasion of the holiday, all churches on the island are open for prayer and reflection.

* date for 2024

Remind me with Google Calendar


Public Holidays



National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving in Montserrat, holidays in Montserrat, public holidays, Soufrière Hills volcano eruption