Following the two year hiatus, the people of the Federation States of Micronesia gathered in numbers within their respective States to celebrate the FSM Cultural Day 2023. It was a showcase and celebration of cultural performances, music, food and various art forms. Here’s a full story from the Yap State’s celebration courtesy of the Yap Tourism Office. The rest are snippets of the celebrations from Pohnpei, Kosrae and Chuuk. These reflect the uniqueness of the Micronesian culture and the potential for tourism to amplify and promote culture and heritage in FSM.
Yap’s grandest celebration – Yap Day
The 53rd Annual Celebration of Yap Day took place from the 1st to the 2nd of March 2023.
Yap Day is usually a two to three-day event on the island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) between the last day of February to the 2nd of March. The theme for this year was “Celebrating Our Culture and Children”, which emphasised on including the children in all on-site activities. The Yap Visitors Bureau (YVB) were the organising body of the event.
This year, the first day of the annual celebration was held in Makiy, Gagil, where they had school competitions on basket weaving, betel nut climbing, copra spearing, husking and grinding, as well as reviving traditional practices such as lei making, coconut oil making, grass skirt weaving and canoe display. It also showcased local attire and cultural presentation from the different municipalities and other activities.
The second day of the cultural event was held at the Yap Living History Museum, where guests and tourists assisted in the rethatching of a local house. It also hosted an Island Market where the local vendors sold refreshments and local food and produce.
Visitors on the island learned a great deal about Yap traditional knowledge and cuisines as well as engaging in such activities.
Yap Day is the most important cultural event for the people of this state. Families, schools, local organisations and vendors partake in the cultural event to showcase the local cuisine, handicrafts, and entertainment. It is the event of the year when the entire Yapese community comes together to celebrate their heritage and traditions and share with visitors to the island.
This is the first Yap Day to transpire after the Covid-19 pandemic after a two-year lapse. The Yap state was prepared to hold a two-day cultural celebration after reopening the FSM borders.
YVB saw the impressive involvement of tourists in this year’s Yap Day and is looking forward to organising the 2024 annual cultural celebration, which is expected to be a much larger event with more dances and activities.
Yap Catholic High School and Yap High School Student Volunteers (Source: Yap Visitors Bureau)
Guests and tourists partake in rethatching a local house (Source: Yap Visitors Bureau – Facebook Page)
Pohnpei Cultural Day
Pohnpei state celebrated Pohnpei Cultural Day on the 31st of March 2023. Centered on the theme “Sapwelimatail Tiahk Iei Soaren Pehi Wet” which translates to “Our Tradition Our Pride Pohnpei”, the event celebrated traditional dances and music of FSM. Schools and various organisations took part and this year marked the 39th Pohnpei Cultural Day. Pohnpei Tourism was a member of the Organising Committee.
Students on Pohnpei participated in the Cultural Day (Source: Pohnpei Tourism – Facebook Page)
Kosrae Cultural Day
Kosrae State celebrated the Kosrae Cultural Day on 30th March 2023. This year the students from all the public schools took part. Amongst the cultural activities on showcase was the demonstration of the story of Makohntowe and how the whale island “Lelu” was formed.
Student on Kosrae participated in the Cultural Day (Source: Kosrae Island Tourism – Facebook Page)
Chuuk Cultural Day
The Chuuk Cultural Day was also celebrated on 30th March 2023 with the schools also part-taking in the event. Chuuk High School for instance exhibited traditional food preparation techniques, fishing practices, cultural dances and traditional games. Click here to watch the highlights of Chuuk High Cultural Day Celebration.
Source and Photo Credits:
Yap Visitors Bureau
Kosrae Island Tourism
Kuya Novo YouTube Channel.