Commonwealth Cultural Day

The Northern Mariana Islands are a U.S. commonwealth that’s located in the Pacific Ocean. The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, also known as the CNMI, includes 14 islands. The southernmost island of the Mariana Archipelago, Guam, is its own separate U.S. territory.

In Northern Mariana, there’s a holiday that’s known as Commonwealth Cultural Day that is observed on the first Monday in October every year. It’s a public holiday that celebrates the culture of the islands and their remarkable people. It’s also a holiday that’s a general day off for the population and many schools, government offices, and businesses are closed.

The History Of Commonwealth Cultural Day In Northern Mariana

The Mariana Islands were some of the first islands settled by humans in Remote Oceania and were first settled by migrants leaving the Philippines. During the 16th century, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the area while he was sailing under the Spanish flag. In 1565, the Spanish made them a part of the Spanish East Indies. In 1734, the Spanish then built Plaza de Espana, a royal palace in Guam.

After Spain’s loss following the Spanish-American War of 1898, Spain ceded Guam to the U.S. and sold the rest of the Mariana to Germany under the German-Spanish Treaty of 1899. Germany would administer the island as German New Guinea but did little to develop it any further.

During WWI, Japan declared war on Germany and invaded the Northern Marianas. The Japanese then began to build up the island’s sugar cane industry. During WWII, Japan launched an invasion of Guam from its position on the Marianas.

On June 15th, 1944, the U.S. military invaded the Mariana Islands and ignited the Battle of Saipan. During this battle, over 30,000 troops defended the islands, but after the battle, less than 1,000 of them remained. In 1978, the CNMI was formed. Not long after, Commonwealth Cultural Day was created.

Observing Commonwealth Cultural Day In Northern Mariana

This holiday is observed with festivals, food, music, and traditional dancing. It’s also observed with various cultural art events all across the islands. On social media, the hashtag #CommonwealthCulturalDay can be used to spread the word about it.

Where is it celebrated?
Northern Mariana Islands (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2023)
October 9 Monday
Next year (2024)
October 14 Monday
Last year (2022)
October 10 Monday