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Antigua did not receive full independence from Britain until November 1st, 1981. On this day, it had been 328 years since the Antiguan flag had flown in place of the Union Jack and, as their flag was raised, locals sang their national anthem.
Celebrations to mark the independence of the island are held every year during the week of November 1st. The wild and colorful festival includes competitions, parades, expositions and food fairs, enjoyed by locals and travelers alike. Two weeks before the festivities begin, schools, businesses and government buildings are decorated in the yellow and red check pattern that signifies the national dress.
Many activities are intended to exemplify the culture of Antigua and many refer to events in the history of the nation. People are very much encouraged to participate in any way they can. Many wear the national dress, sing patriotic songs and wave flags.
The celebrations are seen as very important to the country in two ways. Firstly, to the locals; the festivities bring people together both socially and spiritually. Secondly, to the economy of the nation; the increase in the presence of visitors benefits the country through the growth in the tourist industry this creates.