Flag Day in American Samoa
Many countries around the world have a Flag Day that honors their flag, but Flag Day in American Samoa is the one we’re discussing in this holiday article. This holiday is observed annually on April 17th, but if that date falls on a weekend, then the holiday is observed on the following Monday.
The date on which this holiday is celebrated commemorates the date on which Samoa became a U.S territory in 1900. Because this day is a public holiday, the general population is given the day off and government offices, schools, and most businesses are closed.
The History Of Flag Day In American Samoa
The Samoan Islands were first settled by Polynesians in the year 1,000 BCE. These South Pacific Islands wouldn’t be visited by Europeans until the 18th century when Dutch navigator Jacob Roggeveen sighted the island.
In 1878, the U.S would sign a treaty so that they could establish a naval station in Pago Pago Harbor. An agreement between the U.S and Germany in 1899 split Samoa into two different areas: German control of the western islands and U.S control of the eastern islands.
On April 17, 1900, the Treaty of Cession of Tutuila was signed. This treaty was between the U.S and several chiefs of the Island of Tutuila. This treaty basically ceded the island to the U.S—making it a part of American Samoa.
For the first time, the American flag was raised on Sogelau Hill in Fagatogo. Over the next four years, all of the eastern islands had been ceded to the U.S, and by 1929, the U.S Congress has accepted these deeds of cession.
Observing Flag Day In American Samoa
In preparation for this holiday, people decorate the island of Tutuila all over the with woven palm fronds and flowers. Street signs, lamp posts, and coconut trees are decorated in this fashion all over.
When the holiday arrives, schools and church groups practice traditional Samoan dances called Siva. There are also long boat celebrations, a Flag Day parade, and a raising of the flag of Samoa.