Vanuatu: Holidays and Events
There are a number of public holidays that do not have a fixed date, but are based on the location of Easter. Easter takes place on the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which ends on Holy Saturday, is 46 days before Holy Saturday. The date for Pentecost is then 50 days after Easter. The Corpus Christi festival is celebrated on the 2nd Thursday after Pentecost. All Saints’ Day is celebrated for Orthodox Christians on the 1st Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st. On October 31, Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. The Halloween festival also takes place on this day.
|January 1||New Year|
|21st of February||Father Lini Day|
|5. March||Customs Chiefs Day|
|1st of May||Working day|
|May 24||Ascension of Christ|
|24th July||Children’s day|
|30th July||Independence day|
|15th of August||May ascension|
|5th October||Constitution Day|
|November 29||Day of Unity|
|December 26||Family day|
Source: Countryaah – Vanuatu Holidays
Regular cultural events
|In February||Jon Frum Day, it is celebrated with dances and parades on the island of Tanna in Sulfur Bay.|
|In April, May and June||Naghol, “diving without water”, is celebrated on Pentecost Island.|
|In July||Horse racing in Port Vila|
|In June or August||Rome dance on Ambrym|
|From August to October||Toka Clan Alliance Dance, it is celebrated on the island of Tanna with a duration of three days.|
The three-day Toka Clan Alliance Dance is without a doubt the highlight of all cultural events on Vanuatu. Up to 3,000 people take part in the festival. An important part of the ceremony is the handing over of gifts, and pigs have a very high prestige. The festivities begin with the women’s dances in the evening.
Vanuatu’s climate is tropical. In the months of May to September there are southeast trade winds that make the climate more bearable.
The average rainfall is 2,360 mm per year, but up to 4,000 mm on the northern islands.
December to March is the season of tropical cyclones. Cyclones occasionally occur as early as November. The later the storms arrive in the season, the more pronounced they are. Typically, Vanuatu is hit by two to three cyclones per season.
On March 13th, the island was hit by a violent hurricane, which is referred to here as a cyclone, with wind speeds of up to a little less than 300 km/h. The storm left devastating damage and likely 10 deaths.
The best time to travel to Vanuatu
The most favorable travel time for Vanuatu in terms of the climate is around April/May to October. November and December are warm, but not too hot. From January to March it is relatively hot and often rainy and humid,
and there is also the risk of experiencing tropical cyclones. However, because of the off-season, it is a good time to find cheap deals.
|Month||Average number of rainy days||Mean maximum temperatures in (°C)||Mean minimum temperatures in (°C)|
Vanuatu: national customs
This type of high diving from high and fragile-looking scaffolding is a typical Melanesian custom that was originally used for the initiation of young men. The higher the rook, the better for the knight’s reputation. Naghol can be compared to today’s Bunjee jumping.
The men and boys, attached to their feet with a liana, jump upside down from the tower structures. The liana, like the modern rubber band, prevents the impact shortly before it touches the ground.
As soon as the yam vegetables ripen on the islands, the islanders start building the diving towers. The ritual is supposed to contribute to a better harvest.
The kava ceremony was traditionally held on occasions such as funerals, births, weddings, welcoming guests, signing contracts and gatherings of high-ranking people.
Nowadays it is also known as “beer of the island” in the local Bislama language.
The kava ceremony is cultivated in the entire Pacific culture and held according to strict rules. The kava drink is made by chewing the kava root soft and then diluting it with water. The mixture is filtered with the help of coconut fibers and then served in half a coconut shell. According to the hierarchy, the bowl is passed around among the men present and is to be drunk in one sip.
Nowadays the intoxicating drink is also served as a social drink and women are also allowed to take part in kava drinking in less conservative circles.
Sights and sports facilities
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that VU stands for the nation of Vanuatu as a two-letter acronym.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Cultural landscape “Chief Roi Mata’s Domain”
Chief Roi Mata’s Domain belongs to the island state of Vanuatu, it is located on the northwest coast of the island of Efate. This cultural landscape includes the territory of the supreme chief, Chief Roi Mata, who died in the early 17th century. The area of the protected area is about 13 km², including the following sites: Mangaas, the residence of Roi Mata, the rock cave – a holy place – a cave on Lelepa, in which rock paintings can be found and the Eretoka Island. But this also includes the sea that connects these three areas.
Mangaliliu and Natapau, with the support of the Vanuatu National Museum, offer assistance in visiting various sites. The cultural landscape “Chief Roi Mata’s Domain” was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2008.
Stone monoliths that mark old dance venues.
rock carvings, drainage system.
Remnants of the Lapita culture have been found on the islands of Aoba, Malo, Malakula, Efate and Erromango. The Lapita people came from New Guinea around 3,300 years ago. They had developed a high pottery culture. On the basis of pottery finds on Lapita, the settlement history of the western part of the South Pacific can be reconstructed quite well. Lapita sites can also be found in Tonga, New Caledonia and Samoa. The knowledge of pottery was lost over the years and the further the settlement movements advanced to the east.
On Aneityum are the remains of what was once the largest missionary church in the South Pacific. The church could hold up to 500 people.
The Vanuatus Cultural Center in Port Vila exhibits a collection of rare finds from the South Pacific and provides an interesting overview of the geology, history and local customs of Vanuatus.
Vatthe Conservation Area National Park on the north side of the largest island of Vauatu – Espiritu Santo. The nature reserve covers an area of 2,720 hectares.
There are three caves here, which serve as resting places for bats; they are considered “taboo” and may only be viewed by the chief chief after a ceremony has been carried out.
According to legend, the snake spirit Alawuro, the guardian of Big Bay and its forest, lives here. Alawuro lives in the cave of a limestone rock.
The 678 km² island of Ambrym forms a shield volcano with the two volcanic cones Mt. Benbow and Mt. Marum, which are located in a caldera of around 95 km².
The caldera was formed as a result of a major eruption around 2,000 years ago.
The active stratovolcano Mt. Yasur on the 561 km² island of Tanna has a height of 360 m. Especially in the dark it offers an impressive spectacle.
Its main crater, Vulki Mulki, has a diameter of approx. 300 m and a depth of approx. 150 m.
The rim of the crater can be visited.
The 1,000 year old kauri trees on the island of Erromango survived the overexploitation.
On the 328 km² volcanic island of Gaua there is a 120 m high picturesque waterfall. With the 797 m high shield volcano “Mount Garat” the island has one of the most active volcanoes in the archipelago
on the islands of Pentecote and Malakula. For more information, see “special national customs” above.
swimming You can swim with manatees (dugong) on Epi Island in Lamen Bay.
Scuba diving and snorkeling
wreck diving to the SS President Coollidge on Espiritu Santo. Easily accessible snorkeling spots can be found at Port Vila, Hideaway Island Marine Reserve, Hat Islands, Pul’s Rock and the Tranquility Islands.
Fishing and deep sea angling
Marlins, Giant Marlins, Broadbills, Swordfish and Shortbilled Spearfish can be caught.
Pango Point in Port Vila is the only surfing spot near town. In general, surfing is only recommended for experienced surfers. The waves break right on the coral reef and there are often strong currents!
Sailing and windsurfing
Tanna Island is home to the popular Port Resolution yacht anchorage, where James Cook (1728-1779) landed in 1774.