Unity Day in Vanuatu

Unity Day is a holiday observed in Vanuatu on November 29th every year. It was created specifically to instill a spirit of unity in the general population — which is quite ambitious, considering that the Republic of Vanuatu comprises 83 small islands where over 110 different languages are spoken.

Although the majority of the people in this island nation share the same ethnic background, many of the tribes on the different islands have their own unique traditions, languages, and customs. Thanks to this holiday and other unity initiatives, the islands of Vanuatu are becoming closer to one another each year.

The History of Unity Day in Vanuatu

In the early 1970s, the New Hebrides National Party was established, and in 1974, it was renamed the Vanua’aku Party. This party was supported by the English-speaking population of Vanuatu but was opposed by other parties that were later created.

Many of these parties were supported by the French. The Vanua’aku Party stood in opposition to these other parties, and in 1977, proclaimed the creation of a provisional government. The leaders behind this party attempted to raise a flag over the headquarters in Port Vila, but police showed up to oppose this action.

This led to violence. Unity Day was created shortly thereafter to bring people together under the flag of a single country. Eventually, the country achieved independence from the British and French in 1980.

Observing Unity Day in Vanuatu

Every year, representatives from all over Vanuatu gather in Port Vila to observe Unity Day. There are festivals where people dress up in their traditional attire, parades, and other activities that highlight the importance of unity. People also come together with their families to share a meal of taro, yam, banana, Santo beef, wild pigeon, flying fox, lap-lap, coconut crab, or poulet fish.

Where is it celebrated?
Vanuatu (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
November 29 Friday
Next year (2025)
November 29 Saturday
Last year (2023)
November 29 Wednesday