Gospel Day in Marshall Islands
The Republic of the Marshall Islands is an independent island country that’s located near the Equator in the Pacific Ocean and is home to approximately 58,400+ people. It consists of several main islands and dozens of coral atolls and is located between Hawaii and the Philippines.
It’s also a country where over 97% of the residents are Christians, and that’s why the first Friday in December is celebrated as Gospel Day in this country. This public holiday commemorates the first Christian missionaries to visit the islands from the United States in 1857. Since it’s a public holiday, it’s a non-working day and a day when many schools and businesses are closed.
The History Of Gospel Day In The Marshall Islands
In 1857, Protestant Reverand Dr. George Pierson landed the Morning Star, his schooner, on Ebon Atoll and began teaching the indigenous residents of the islands Christianity and the Gospel. His work, as well as the work of subsequent missionaries, was extremely successful as over 97% of the current population of the islands are Christian nowadays.
Observing Gospel Day In The Marshall Islands
This holiday is celebrated in much of the same way as Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States. However, there is less of an emphasis on food and there’s more of an emphasis on dressing up and attending church. Once that’s been done, then people enjoy holiday meals with their families.
These meals can include Fruit Bat Soup, Banana Cakes, Lemon Cheese Cake, and Macadamia Nut Pies. On this holiday, there are also theater productions that recreate the landing of Dr. Pierson on the Ebon Atoll. During this ceremony, there are songs sung, as well as prayers and sermons.
Every 50-years, there’s a Jubilee Gospel Day that’s celebrated as well. This is a day that’s observed like Gospel Day is celebrated in any other year, but celebrations are larger and much more elaborate. The last Jubilee Gospel Day was held in 2007 and the next one is scheduled for 2057. The one in 2057 is likely to be the largest Jubilee ever since it’s the 200-year anniversary of Dr. Pierson’s landing.