Samoa Independence Day is the most important annual event in the Pacific Island nation. In 1962, Samoa was the first country in the South Pacific to gain independence after a strong resistance to the colonial rule of Germany, and later New Zealand. This year, the three-day celebrations begin on June 1 and are likely to be particularly poignant following the major earthquake that devastated the islands in August 2009.
The celebrations are an eye feast of Polynesian finery, dancing, feasting, singing, speeches by tulafale (talking chiefs), horse races and fun, culminating in a friendly fautasi race where different island clans compete in 20-metre long war canoes for a 10 kilometre race across Apia Harbour. This year, a team from Pago Pago in American Samoa will be competing for the first time.
The 72-hour party also involves lots of traditional activities such as tattooing and fire knife dancing. This is the time to experience the Samoan love of elaborate ceremony at its best. Most of the action centres around the charming capital of Apia, on the island of Upolu. During the celebrations, banks, offices and most stores will be closed.
Samoa consists of two main islands, Savai'i and Upolu, and seven smaller islands - all lush tropical paradises with pristine beaches overhung by swaying coconut palms, verdant rainforest, giant ferns and extraordinary waterfalls fed by pure spring water. Samoa's clear, warm blue waters are also heaven for diving and snorkelling.
Although Samoa is hot and humid year-round, from May to October the days are cooled by the south-east trade winds.
To organise your travel to the event, contact a Flight Centre Travel Expert on 133 133 for assistance or use the form below.
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