Territory Day in Wallis And Futuna
Wallis and Futuna is a French island collectivity located in the South Pacific. To the northwest of it is Tuvalu, to the southwest is Fiji. It also has Tonga to the southeast, Tokelau to the northeast, and Samoa to its east. These islands have been a French protectorate since the end of the 19th century.
In 1961, this territory became a French Overseas Territory and Territory Day is a holiday that celebrates that fact. That’s why this holiday is celebrated annually on the 29th of July in the Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands.
The History Of Territory Day In Wallis & Futuna
These islands were originally settled by Polynesians and it would be quite a while before Europeans made contact with them. Wallis and Futuna were first encountered by Europeans in the 17th century. This is when Dutch navigators passed by them as they attempted to circumnavigate their globe. In 1767, British explorer Samuel Wallis sailed past the islands, and that’s where one of the islands received its name.
At the end of the 19th century, the islands became a French protectorate. It was then annexed in 1917 by France. It would remain a French colony and under the authority of New Caledonia until the early 1960s. In 1959, the inhabitants of the islands voted to become a French overseas territory and on July 29th, 1961, they would actually become one. Territory Day has been celebrated ever since.
Observing Territory Day In Wallis & Futuna
This holiday is observed with parades, festivals, traditional dancing and singing, and lots of food. Smoke meats such as ham are enjoyed in a wide variety of dishes. Other important food staples that make it into holiday cuisine include bananas, sweet potatoes, and seafood.