The Top Events & Festivals in Samoa
The Top Events & Festivals in Samoa

The Top Events & Festivals in Samoa 🎉 [2024]

© Samoa Tourism Authority

The Ultimate Guide to Celebrations, Festivals and Events in Samoa

Party, dance, run, swim, eat, drink, dress up and spectate your way through the year in Samoa by hitting the major events found around the country! From cultural festivals to sporting competitions, there’s plenty to observe during your time exploring the islands. Checking out some of Samoa’s events and festivals is a fantastic way to experience the local culture and enjoy the vibrant ambience of a Samoan get-together. We list events well worth getting tickets for in this guide to the top Samoa events and festivals this year.

Public Holidays in Samoa

Here is a list of all of the public holidays in Samoa:

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. For more information on Samoa’s holidays, see the Public Holidays in Samoa (& Other Important Dates).

The Top Events & Festivals in Samoa © Unsplash

January Events

The main event in January is the New Year.

Public Holidays in January

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. For more information on Samoa’s holidays, see the Public Holidays in Samoa (& Other Important Dates).

New Year’s Celebrations

Kick off the New Year much like anywhere in the world with fireworks displays and parties in Apia between 31 December and 1 January. Samoa is one of the first places to celebrate the New Year. See how to experience this public holiday for yourself with our Samoa New Year Ideas.

What is the weather like in January? Find out in our guide, Samoa Weather in January.

The Top Events & Festivals in Samoa© SamoaPocketGuide.com

February Events

February is a less lively month in Samoa’s events calendar but not if you’re a rugby fan!

Samoa Rugby Season

The Rugby Season kicks off in February with village teams competing across Samoa. If you would like to catch a game of rugby, February is the best time for it. February is also when the Vailima Marist Samoa 7s kicks off, so look out for specific dates on the Samoa Tourism Authority’s events page.

What is the weather like in February? Find out in our guide, Samoa Weather in February.

The Top Events & Festivals in Samoa© SamoaPocketGuide.com

March Events

The weather is usually heavily humid this time of year – not great for events – but if you’re into your arts and crafts, as well as traditional culture, you won’t be disappointed…

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. Look out for the Apia Arts and Crafts Festival for the year over at the Samoa Tourism Authority’s events page.

What is the weather like in March? Find out in our guide, Samoa Weather in March.

The Top Events & Festivals in Samoa© SamoaPocketGuide.com

April Events

April is a special time for the Christian country of Samoa. There are three public holidays dedicated to the Easter weekend.

Public Holidays in April

Easter

Easter most commonly falls in April and is celebrated with enthusiasm with events organised by Samoa’s churches. Learn more about how to experience Easter in The Guide to Easter in Samoa.

What is the weather like in April? Find out in our guide, Samoa Weather in April.

The Top Events & Festivals in Samoa © SamoaPocketGuide.com

May Events

Samoa’s sporting events start to kick into gear during May as the humidity drops a tad, while some special days in the festival and community calendar can also be experienced.

Public Holidays in May

Samoana Jazz & Arts Festival

Not just an event for Samoa, but American Samoa, the Samoana Jazz & Arts Festival combines the two countries for a day of easy-listening entertainment. The event falls during UNESCO International Jazz Day in May with a conch-shell ceremony at dawn to bring in this special day to the jazz community. Learn more about the festival over on the Samoa Tourism Authority’s events page.

Apolima Strait Swim

Forget about taking the ferry between Upolu and Savai’i, swim the strait yourself at the Apolima Strait Swim, usually held in May! The event includes a welcome and warm-up swim, welcome dinner, course inspection plus boat crew meeting, the swim day and prize giving on Savai’i. Check out this year’s dates on the Samoa Tourism Authority’s events page.

SIGFA International Tournament

Samoa International Game Fishing Association is once again hosting the SIGFA International Tournament in May complete with opening and closing ceremonies, team briefings and, of course, lots and lots of fishing. Again, check out this year’s dates on the Samoa Tourism Authority’s events page.

Mother’s Day

What might just be a symbol of appreciation in many Christian countries, in Samoa where family means everything, Mother’s Day is observed as an official public holiday. The occasion is mostly celebrated within churches and families, where mothers wear white and are treated to their favourite food at a family feast. Mothers are expected to relax while fathers and children do all of the work. Expect some shops, services and attractions to be closed on this day.

What is the weather like in May? Find out in our guide, Samoa Weather in May.

The Top Events & Festivals in Samoa© SamoaPocketGuide.com

June Events

Most of June’s events surround Independence Day.

Public Holidays in June

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. For more information on Samoa’s holidays, see the Public Holidays in Samoa (& Other Important Dates).

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 and continuing with various events across Samoa’s villages. Expect some shops and services to be closed on this day and the public holiday.

Fautasi Regatta

See Samoa’s best fautasi (longboat) crews row it out on the Apia Harbour as part of the Independence Day celebrations at the Fautasi Regatta, usually held in June. The Government of Samoa awards large cash prizes to the top finishers in each race. Check out this year’s dates on the Samoa Tourism Authority’s events page.

What is the weather like in June? Find out in our guide, Samoa Weather in June.

The Top Events & Festivals in Samoa© SamoaPocketGuide.com

July Events

As the weather gets less humid and drops a degree or two, it’s the perfect condition for a tropical running event!

Samoa International Marathon

Compete or support on a course on the breathtaking island of Savai’i or on Upolu at the Samoa International Marathon, usually held in July. If you’re not up for the full marathon, there are half-marathon, 10km, 6km and 3km races to get stuck into. Check out the details for this year as they become available on the Samoa Tourism Authority’s events page.

What is the weather like in July? Find out in our guide, Samoa Weather in July.

The Top Events & Festivals in Samoa © Samoa Tourism Authority

August Events

Samoa’s sporting events are in full swing during this drier and less humid time of year. There’s also a public holiday that you might want to pencil in a “rest day” for.

Public Holidays in August

Samoa Swim Series

If you fancy yourself a bit of an openwater swimmer, book yourself the ultimate swimming competition and holiday with the Samoa Swim Series, usually held at the end of July/August. Packages include various resort accommodations, entry into a series of swimming races, and delectable dinners to fuel up for more!

Warrior Race

Prove yourself as a true warrior by partaking in Samoa’s Warrior Race, usually held in August. The half-iron triathlon has been running since 2013 and challenges solo athletes and teams on an exciting course that won’t be the biggest triathlon you might have been to, but we bet it will be the friendliest. There are different options for races, including Olympic-like distances, sprint distances, and kids’ races, so bring the whole family!

Tour of Samoa

Another sporting event and the biggest event in the cycling calendar for Samoa is the Tour of Samoa, typically held in August with a week’s worth of cycle races, exploring Samoa’s key attractions, wine and dining, and prize-giving.

Father’s Day

What might just be a symbol of appreciation in many Christian countries, in Samoa where family means everything, Father’s Day is observed as an official public holiday. The occasion is very much a Christian affair where events take place in churches with each church/denomination celebrating in their own way, whether it’s children singing songs for their fathers or fathers performing skits and songs. Expect some shops, services and attractions to be closed on this day.

What is the weather like in August? Find out in our guide, Samoa Weather in August.

The Top Events & Festivals in Samoa © SamoaPocketGuide.com

September Events

Samoa’s biggest annual festival, as featured in the 5 Biggest Festivals in Samoa, takes place in September.

Teuila Festival

One of the biggest events in the Samoan calendar, the Teuila Festival, usually held in September, 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. Check out the details for this year as they become available on the Samoa Tourism Authority’s events page.

5 Islands Samoa

Did you know there are more than just two islands in Samoa? Don’t just visit them, swim to them with the 5 Islands Samoa, usually happening in September. The event isn’t overly competitive but it’s certainly not for beginners either. With swims all around Samoa and the chance to mingle with like-minded people, it’s a must for any swimming enthusiast.

What is the weather like in September? Find out in our guide, Samoa Weather in September.

The Top Events & Festivals in Samoa© Samoa Tourism Authority

October Events

October is a time to experience some of Samoa’s most unique events!

Public Holidays in October

  • Monday after the second Sunday in October – White Sunday

White Sunday (Lotu-a-Tamaiti)

Children get their special day in Samoa with White Sunday. White Sunday is when Samoa’s children dress up in their best white clothing, attend special church services, and end with a family feast where the kids often get to enjoy their favourite food. The best way to experience the celebrations is to attend a church service at one of the 10 Best Churches in Samoa to Experience as a Visitor.

Palolo Rising

A natural phenomenon that you can almost set your clock by, Palolo Rise is when the palolo reef worm performs its annual ritual of rising from the coral to the water’s surface to spawn – typically once in October or once in November or both! As the blue-green palolo reef worm rises off Samoa’s shores, locals gather with lanterns on the beaches to scoop this delicacy up! Learn more about how locals celebrate in How to Experience the Palolo Season in Samoa.

What is the weather like in October? Find out in our guide, Samoa Weather in October.

The Top Events & Festivals in Samoa © SamoaPocketGuide.com

November Events

November is the month when Samoans seemingly prove their strength, skills and commitment!

International Siva Afi Competition

Unique to Samoa, siva afi (fire knife dancing) is a tradition rooted in the Samoan culture and, let’s be honest, is pretty cool to witness. Head to the International Siva Afi Competition in November to check out the talented individuals working their fire magic. Check out the details for this year as they become available on the Samoa Tourism Authority’s events page.

Samoa International Bodybuilding Competition

See Samoa’s buffest at the Samoa National Bodybuilding Competition, promoting bodybuilding and fitness across the islands during this event in November! Check out the details for this year as they become available on the Samoa Tourism Authority’s events page.

What is the weather like in November? Find out in our guide, Samoa Weather in November.

The Top Events & Festivals in Samoa© SamoaPocketGuide.com

December Events

The festive season is also one of the most lively months of the event calendar! Book your flight early for this popular time to be in Samoa.

Public Holidays in December

Apia City Half Marathon

Just before you relax for the festive season, why not earn your overeating with the Apia City Half Marathon in December? Take up the challenge and have some fun in Samoa’s capital. Check out the details for this year as they become available on the Samoa Tourism Authority’s events page.

Christmas

An important Christian holiday, Christmas (25 December) is celebrated in Samoa and Boxing Day (26 December) is also observed as a public holiday. Look out for events in Apia like Christmas on the Waterfront. Learn more about Christmas in our guide, Samoa Christmas Ideas: How to Spend Christmas in Samoa.

Fish to the Max

The Samoa International Game Fishing Association’s (SIGFA’s) other big fishing event of the year is Fish to the Max with a series of junior segments and the final, Open Big Fish Bash occurring in December. Round up your team or join in on the spectatorship to see who reels in the biggest fish with a range of prizes and titles to be had! Check out the details for this year as they become available on the Samoa Tourism Authority’s events page.

What is the weather like in December? Find out in our guide, Samoa Weather in December.

More About the Top Events and Festivals in Samoa

That’s it for our complete guide to the top events and festivals for Samoa. If you didn’t find an event exciting enough, check out more ideas in the following guides:

Finally, fill up the rest of your time in the islands with the 101 Best Things to Do in Samoa: The Ultimate List.

Author

Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Samoa Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as Samoa. She knows the islands inside out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Upolu and Savai’i’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also the editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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