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Custom Chief's Day

Custom Chief’s Day 2019 and 2020

Custom Chief’s Day honours the important role of chiefs in Vanuatu culture and society.

20195 MarTueCustom Chief's Day
20205 MarThuCustom Chief's Day

In the widely scattered, South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, chiefs have always been the most powerful and influential of local political figures. Even today, after a century of British-French rule and the erection of parliamentary national government, local chiefs retain “clout.”

The council of chiefs called the “Malvatu Mauri” still gives parliament guidance on cultural matters, and the national holiday called “Custom Chief’s Day” honours the ancient role of chiefs every March 5th. The holiday has continued since 1977, and each of the nation’s 83 islands has its own unique ways of celebrating it.

While events vary from island to island and village to village, look for large feasts featuring native cuisine, traditional singing and dancing, public sports matches, carnivals, agricultural shows, arts displays, and other intriguing cultural events.