The Festivals of Samoa
Samoa sure knows how to throw a party. Not only have they got the stunning venues of tropical islands and winterless weather, but they have a certain knack for hosting elaborate festivals. Samoa might not have the most brimming calendar of festivals, but the small number of festivals they do have each year are so mind-expanding and unique that they are well worth timing your trip with. Samoa also has quite a few holidays and sporting events, which you can check out in The Top Events & Festivals in Samoa. Without further ado, here are the biggest festivals in Samoa.
1. Teuila Festival
One of the biggest events in the Samoan calendar, the Teuila Festival is a celebration of all things Samoa! The festival is named after the national flower, otherwise known as the red ginger, which blooms in abundance at this time of year and is used as decorations for the event. You’ll see a range of dance competitions, from elegant shows to epic siva afi (fire knife dancing). There are also demonstrations of traditional Samoan arts and crafts, tattooing and lots and lots of food! It all ends with the Miss Samoa Pageant with the crowning of Miss Samoa.
2. Samoana Jazz & Arts Festival
Not just a festival in Samoa, but American Samoa, the Samoana Jazz & Arts Festival combines the two countries for a day of easy-listening entertainment coinciding with UNESCO International Jazz Day! The day usually kicks off with a conch-shell ceremony at dawn to bring in this special day before local and even international artists get together at one of the local restaurants or resorts for captivating live music and other forms of cultural entertainment, like fire dancing.
3. Apia Arts and Crafts Festival
A bustling event held every March, the Apia Arts and Crafts Festival not only focuses on local artists but traditional handicrafts from all across the islands of Samoa. The best places to experience the event are the local markets in Apia, such as the ones listed in the 8 Best Markets in Samoa.
4. Palolo Festival
The annual rising of reef worms known as palolo not only attracts predatory fish, but the people of Samoa celebrate the occasion as a time to catch a rare seafood delicacy! Each year, a Palolo Festival is held at a different village and venue to celebrate this phenomenon that only occurs on the waning moon in October and/or November. In the past, Va-i-Moana Seaside Lodge has been a proud host of this event, so keep an eye on this accommodation or on the Samoa Tourism events page for where the next Palolo Festival is taking place.
Learn more about this unique Samoan festival in our guide, How to Experience the Palolo Season in Samoa.
5. Independence Day
Despite Samoa gaining independence on 1 January 1962 (read up on A Brief History of Samoa), the national public holiday for Samoa’s Independence Day is actually held on 1 June every year in order to avoid a double celebration during the New Year’s holiday. On Independence Day, there are various celebrations across the country, starting at dawn with church bells ringing, the raising of the Samoan flag in Apia, and continuing with various events across Samoa’s villages with a party-like atmosphere! Expect some shops, services and attractions to be closed on this day and the public holiday.
Learn more about the public holiday of Independence Day in our Public Holidays in Samoa (& Other Important Dates).
6. New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve might be a party you can have anywhere in the world, but what makes it special in Samoa is that it’s the first in the world to bring in the New Year! That’s right, because of its position on the International Date Line, Samoa’s time zone allows the country to get the party started first with fireworks in Apia, while the nearby clubs, bars and restaurants all putting on their own events.
Find out more about how to celebrate the New Year in Samoa with Samoa New Year Ideas: How to Spend New Year’s Eve in Samoa.
More About the Biggest Festivals in Samoa
That’s it for our complete guide to the biggest festivals in Samoa. If you didn’t find a festival exciting enough, check out more ideas in the following guides:
- Samoa Christmas Ideas: How to Spend Christmas in Samoa
- The Guide to Easter in Samoa
- How to Experience the Palolo Season in Samoa
Finally, for more events, like sporting events, cultural competitions and more, check out The Top Events & Festivals in Samoa.