Independence Day in Samoa
Independence Day in Samoa is observed annually on the 1st of June. It’s a national holiday that marks the country’s independence from New Zealand on January 1, 1962. If Samoa gained independence in January of that year, then why is it observed every June 1st? Well, there are two reasons for this.
The first reason is that January is in the middle of the Samoan rainy season. The second reason is that a January celebration would coincide with New Year celebrations. As a result, the holiday has been observed on the 1st of June so that everyone can enjoy it.
The History of Independence Day in Samoa
During the 19th century, the U.S. came to control the western islands of Samoa as Western Samoa, and the east was under German control, so it was known as German Samoa. When World War I began, New Zealand took control of German Samoa, and it remained in their hands as a Trust Territory, first through the League of Nations and then eventually through the United Nations.
On January 1, 1962, Samoa gained its independence from New Zealand peacefully after the New Zealand Western Samoa Act was passed on November 24, 1961. The observance of this holiday was changed from January 1st to June 1st to make the holiday more accessible to the general public.
Observing Independence Day in Samoa
Samoan Independence Day is observed first with the hoisting of the Samoan flag at Malaeola Hall in Mangere. Other events that occur on this holiday include devotional church services, singing by various choirs, and speeches given by politicians.
There is also a gun salute on this day and lots of traditional Samoan entertainment that includes music, song, and dance. Finally, there is usually an awards ceremony that celebrates the achievements of prominent Samoan citizens.