What’s it Like to Celebrate Christmas in Samoa?
Looking for something different to do this Christmas? Escape to Samoa, a stunning cluster of tropical islands in the South Pacific. It’s a place where Christmas is celebrated with enthusiasm, from the harmonious carol singers to feasts across the islands’ villages. But what can visitors do for Christmas in Samoa? We’ll lay out your options in this guide on how to spend Christmas in Samoa. Manuia le Kerisimasi!
5 Things to Do for Christmas in Samoa
- Stuff yourself like a Christmas turkey at one of Samoa resorts‘ Christmas Day lunch and dinner events
- Check out the vibrant decorations in Apia and the villages (and make your own coconut palm-frond Christmas tree)
- Listen to the gorgeous singing of carols at one of the Christmas church services
- Head to this year’s Christmas event in Apia, such as a Santa parade at Christmas on the Waterfront
- Enjoy Christmas in your own quiet corner of Samoa by staying in a beach fale or resort.
Is Christmas a Good Time to Visit Samoa?
We might be a little biased, but yes, Christmas is an exceptional time to visit Samoa. The weather is warm at a maximum average temperature of 30°C / 86°F and there’s plenty of sunshine to be had in this tropical paradise. However, Christmas in Samoa is during the rainy season, so be prepared for that.
While most accommodations and resorts don’t charge a premium for Christmas holidays (it’s technically part of the low season), flights are a little more expensive during this time and are booked up well in advance, so get in there quickly.
Are the Shops Open at Christmas in Samoa?
Know that Christmas Day (25 December) and Boxing Day (26 December) are public holidays, which means that shops are closed, as are many businesses and restaurants. Some tourist attractions, like To-Sua Ocean Trench, are likely to have reduced opening hours. It’s best to prepare your self-catering needs at least the day before Christmas. On the other hand, resorts will be functioning as normal; its restaurant and all.
See the Samoa Weather in December for more tips about visiting Samoa during the holiday season.
How Do Samoans Celebrate Christmas?
As a devout Christian country, Samoa celebrates this Christian holiday with enthusiasm. Going to church is one of the most significant ways that Samoans across the islands celebrate Christmas.
Samoa Church Events at Christmas
There are many events organised by the various churches and denominations on the days before Christmas, including productions of the Nativity Play, Midnight Mass and a church service on Christmas Day. The events are captivating, even for visitors who are not regular church-goers, with harmonious singing from the locals that will uplift the spirits, even if you don’t consider yourself a spiritual person.
One popular church event, so much so that it’s televised, is the “13 Days of Christmas” where various choirs perform at Vaitele Uta’s Congregational Christian Church of Samoa in the lead-up to Christmas.
Family Time at Christmas
After church, Samoans at Christmas usually spend time with family. Many families have a to’ona’i, a special feast usually made in an umu (earth oven). Samoans usually exchange gifts too. Some families also play games such as kilikiti (Samoan cricket) and volleyball.
Christmas Events in Samoa
So, what can visitors do in Samoa to join in on the Christmas celebrations? Well, there are plenty of events to dive into the holiday spirit.
Christmas on the Waterfront in Apia
The capital of Samoa, Apia, takes on an especially Christmassy vibe in the lead-up to Christmas, as well as hosting “Christmas on the Waterfront“. The date and time for the festival, which can sometimes last a few days, are usually displayed on banners all over town in December, as well as on the Samoa Tourism Authority’s events page. Over the past years, there have been outdoor cinema events and live music from local artists, church choirs and cultural dance groups. The highlight of the festival is the Christmas Parade led by Santa!
Christmas Events and Lunches at Samoa’s Resorts
Some of Samoa’s largest resorts put on special Christmas lunches and live entertainment each year. While the offerings can change year-on-year, the resorts that tend to offer Christmas functions for the public include:
- Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa
- Taumeasina Island Resort
- Saletoga Sands Resort & Spa
- Seabreeze Resort Samoa
Learn more about these resorts and many others in the Top 25 Resorts in Samoa.
Other Public Holidays in Samoa
Christmas is just one of several public holidays in Samoa experienced throughout the year. Other public holidays in Samoa include:
- January 1 – New Year’s Day
- January 2 – Day after New Year’s Day
- Friday before Easter Sunday – Good Friday
- Saturday after Good Friday – Day after Good Friday
- Monday after Easter Sunday – Easter Monday
- Monday after the second Sunday in May – Mother’s Day
- June 1 – Independence Day
- Monday after the second Sunday in August – Father’s Day
- Monday after the second Sunday in October – White Sunday
- December 25 – Christmas
- December 26 – Boxing Day
Note that if any public holiday dates fall on a weekend, the next Monday (and Tuesday in some cases) is observed as the national public holiday. Learn more about what each day listed above entails in Public Holidays in Samoa (& Other Important Dates).
More About Samoa Christmas and Holiday Events
That’s it for our complete guide to Christmas in Samoa. Need more holiday season inspiration or perhaps something to do for the New Year? Check out these guides:
- Samoa New Year Ideas: How to Spend New Year’s Eve in Samoa
- The Top Events & Festivals in Samoa This Year
- The Guide to Easter in Samoa
Finally, fill up the rest of your time in the islands with the 101 Best Things to Do in Samoa: The Ultimate List.