Yap Day

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Yapese women dancers celebrating Yap Day

Yap Day is a legal holiday in Yap State, one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), held annually on March 1.[1]:2 It is a celebration of traditional Yapese culture. Common activities held during this time include competitions and traditional dances.


In 1968, the Yap Islands Congress created Yap District Day to preserve Yapese culture. The date March 1 was chosen because it was considered the "most pleasant" season of the year because of its dryness. The event's name was changed to Yap Day in March 1979.[1]:3

In 1990, Yap Day activities included running, bicycling, juggling, tug of war, coconut husking, and basket weaving. Five dances were also held. Most of these activities and dances were aimed at preserving the culture of Yap proper.[1]:4

In 1999, Yap Day was held as a three-day celebration starting on February 28. This was reportedly to accommodate for the children's school schedule, though observers also noted that this also coincided with Yap's tourist flight schedules. The opening ceremony was conducted almost entirely in Yapese. Different dances were held for the boys, girls, women, and men, including standing dances, sitting dances, and stick dances. Activities also included children's cultural games such as target shooting or basket weaving. Booths around the dance arena represented the outer islands of Yap, and international organizations such as the Peace Corps. Other booths sold food.[1]:4–5

In 2002, Yap Day was broadcast throughout the Federated States of Micronesia on radio and throughout Yap proper on television.[2]:37


Yapese men dancers celebrating Yap Day.

Each year a different village hosts the Mit-mit and provides both traditional and Western food. Before Yap Day, the villages rehearse traditional dances, which serve as a mode of storytelling.[3][4] Outer islanders are prohibited from participating in dances, though they may attend.[2]:36 Competitions include traditional tattooing, fresh produce contests, and traditional games.[3] The Yap Tradition Navigation Society hold an event where participants build and sail traditional canoes.[5] On the last day, the Yap Visitors Bureau hosts a welcome reception to honor guests who traveled to the island.[3]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Aoyama, Toru (2001). "Yap Day: Cultural Politics in the State of Yap" (PDF). Kagoshima University Research Center for the Pacific Islands Occasional Papers. 34: 1–13. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-10-14. 
  2. ^ a b Komai, Yoko (2005). "The Failure to Objectify Culture: A Lack of Nationalism in the Federated States of Micronesia". People and Culture in Oceania. 21: 31–38. Archived from the original on 2018-02-28. 
  3. ^ a b c Dennis, Matthew, ed. (2006). Encyclopedia of Holidays and Celebrations: A Country-by-Country Guide. New York, NY: Infobase Publishing. p. 858. ISBN 9780816062355. 
  4. ^ Pinsker, Eve C. (1992). "Celebrations of Government: Dance Performance and Legitimacy in the Federated States of Micronesia". Pacific Studies. 15 (4): 29. 
  5. ^ Jeffery, Bill. "The underwater cultural heritage of the Federated States of Micronesia" (PDF): 6. 

External links

  • Yap Day on Visit Yap
  • Yap Day Festival, Micronesia on Pilot Guides
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