Youth Day in Kiribati
Observed annually on the first Monday in August in Kiribati, Youth Day is a holiday that honors the dedication and capabilities of young people across the country. Even though Kiribati has gone through years of violent extremism, civil upheaval, and social unrest, its youth have shown that they are more than capable of meeting the challenges and have demonstrated a great deal of resilience in the face of adversity.
While many of the celebrations held on this day are joyous, some take on a more solemn tone. After all, the country currently faces many challenges, from climate change and limited resources to inadequate infrastructure and overcrowding, that must be addressed as it moves into the future.
The History of Youth Day in Kiribati
The islands of Kiribati were settled by Austronesian-speaking peoples approximately 3,000 years ago. It wouldn’t be until the 18th century that the islands would come into contact with European explorers and colonizers. In 1892, the British established a protectorate over the Gilbert Islands, which would later be renamed the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony in 1916.
During World War II, the islands were occupied by the Japanese. After the Battle of Tarawa, Japanese control over the islands was weakened, and the U.S. eventually took the islands. Beginning with the end of the war, the people of the islands worked towards self-governance and independence. In 1975, the Gilbert and Ellice Islands split, and part of them gained independence as the Republic of Kiribati in 1979.
Although we’re unsure of exactly when Youth Day was created in Kiribati, we do know that it started out and continues to be a very important holiday in the country. Some of its celebrations are observed with solemnity and some with joy, but all are observed with enthusiasm.
Facts About Kiribati
Below are some facts about Kiribati that we feel some of you may wish to know.
- Only 20 of Kiribati’s 32 atolls are inhabited.
- The country is severely impacted by rising sea levels caused by global warming.
- The capital of this country is South Tarawa, which is situated on Tarawa Island.
- Approximately 120,000 people live in Kiribati.
Observing Youth Day in Kiribati
This day is observed with a solemn parade and various sports competitions. Some of the games played on this day include basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, and boxing. Traditional sporting events are also held on this day. But those aren’t the only activities observed on this day. There are also fairs, dances, and song contests.