What is Easter Like in Samoa?
Public holidays are always one for confusion when travelling anywhere in the world. What are the local celebrations? Will businesses still be open? Basically, will you be able to do anything?!
Samoa is a religious nation that celebrates the Christian holiday of Easter with enthusiasm, the Easter public holidays (Good Friday, the Day After Good Friday and Easter Monday), as well as Easter Sunday, see many shops, businesses, services and even some tourist attractions close down or have reduced hours. Nevertheless, by planning your bucket list on either side of those days and using Easter as a time to relax or discover how the locals celebrate, Easter shouldn’t disturb too much of your trip. In fact, it’s more likely to enhance it! Check out local Easter traditions and what there is to do for visitors in this guide to Easter in Samoa.
When is Easter?
For those unfamiliar with the Christian holiday, Easter is in either March or April each year. The date is determined by being the first Sunday after the paschal full moon. In other words, it happens after the vernal equinox. If the full moon falls on a Sunday, Easter will be celebrated on the following Sunday. Easter can occur on any date between 22 March and 25 April but the date is recognised well in advance each year – so just do an online search for “Easter date [year]” and you should find your answer.
Note that the public holidays observed in Samoa for Easter are Good Friday (the Friday before Easter Sunday), the Day After Good Friday and Easter Monday (the Monday after Easter Sunday). Easter Sunday is not an official public holiday, but that’s mainly because Sunday is observed as a day of rest in Samoa anyway.
What is the weather like around Easter? Find out in our guide, Samoa Weather in April.
How Do Samoans Celebrate Easter?
As a Christian nation, Samoa’s locals celebrate Easter as a religious holiday by going to church. Sunday church services might be part of the weekly routine in Samoa but the Easter service is always a noteworthy one. Good Friday marks the memorial of the death of Jesus Christ and Easter Sunday celebrates his resurrection.
There are churches scattered across the villages of Samoa, where the harmonious singing from the locals is reason enough to check one of these church services out, especially at Easter. Any one of the 10 Best Churches in Samoa to Experience as a Visitor, with the exception of the Baha’i House of Worship, would be ideal for experiencing how locals celebrate Easter. Otherwise, you can always ask at your accommodation’s reception about the upcoming Easter church services closest to your accommodation.
The various denominations of Christianity in Samoa each have their own distinct way of celebrating, such as the Catholic Church performing reenactments of the Easter story on village greens throughout the “Holy Week”. Some denominations decorate their churches in the Easter colours: purple, red and white.
Learn more about Samoa and Christianity in The Guide to the Religions in Samoa.
What Easter Means for Tourists in Samoa
The weekend of Good Friday to Easter Monday is observed as a long weekend of public holidays in Samoa. Although only Good Friday, the Day After Good Friday and Easter Monday are the official public holidays, many businesses change their opening hours from Friday right through to the following Monday. In short, you might find that a lot of the independent restaurants (not resort restaurants), shops and services (like the ferry between Upolu and Savai’i) are closed or have reduced hours during the Easter break.
Natural attractions and beaches, which are owned by local families and require you to pay an entry fee to enjoy, are typically open during the public holidays for their busiest times of the year.
If you need to do some shopping for groceries in the villages, for instance, it’s best to do it before Good Friday. Those staying in Apia will still be able to find Chinese-operated grocery stores open throughout the weekend. For those eating out at one of the resorts for the Easter break, be sure to book your table.
Learn more about public holidays and when they are observed in Public Holidays in Samoa (& Other Important Dates).
How Visitors Can Celebrate Easter in Samoa
The first thing we would recommend for visitors to Samoa at Easter is attending an Easter church service. Even if you’re not a regular church-goer, it’s still well worth the experience for the spectacular harmonies. Church services take place on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, usually from 10 am to 12 pm. See the 10 Best Churches in Samoa to Experience as a Visitor for which church to visit.
Other events are typically taking place around the Easter break, however, these change year-on-year so ask at the local information centre, see the local newspapers, or check out the events page of the Samoa Tourism Authority’s website for the latest Easter events. In the past, there have been Easter egg hunts for the kids at various hotels and resorts, as well as Easter lunches and activities days for kids.
What Else Can Visitors Do During the Easter Break?
If you don’t want to celebrate Easter and just enjoy your “island time”, then there’s still plenty to do despite restaurants, businesses and tour operators being closed.
It’s still business as usual at Samoa’s resorts, hotels and beach fales at Easter, so have a cocktail, an evening meal (bookings advised for this popular time when other restaurants are closed), a swim in the pool or beach or kick back with a good book. Some resort restaurants run Easter specials, so keep an eye out.
The Easter break is also a good time to take a self-guided tiki tour around your chosen island. If that chosen island is Upolu, see our Self-Guided Itinerary, or for Savai’i take a look at this Self-Guided Itinerary.
For more inspiration for activities that can do at Easter, check out the 10 Things to Do in Samoa on a Sunday – the activities still apply to Easter by having the same restrictions.
Other Public Holidays in Samoa
Good Friday, the Day after Good Friday and Easter Monday are just a few 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 the Public Holidays in Samoa (& Other Important Dates).
More About Easter and Holiday Events in Samoa
That’s it for our complete guide to Easter in Samoa. Need more seasonal inspiration? Check out these guides:
- The Top Events & Festivals in Samoa This Year
- 5 Biggest Festivals in Samoa
- Samoa Christmas Ideas: How to Spend Christmas 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.