Day of the Tribes in Nauru Date in the current year: August 19, 2022

Day of the Tribes in Nauru The Day of the Tribes (Ibumin Earoeni Day) is a public holiday in the Micronesian island country of Nauru. It is celebrated on August 19 to honor the country’s twelve traditional tribes and matrilineal system.

Nauru is a microstate in the Central Pacific, whose nearest neighbors are Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands. With a population of about 10,500 people, it is the world’s second smallest sovereign state by population, after Vatican. As of 2011, Nauruans comprise over 90% of the country’s population.

Nauruans are a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Nauru. Although they are geographically and linguistically classified as Micronesians, the Nauruan people are most likely a blend of Micronesians, Melanesians and Polynesians. Their exact origin is unclear; according to the most common theory, Nauruans are probably the descendants of Micronesians and Polynesians who were shipwrecked or purposefully sailed to the island of Nauru and settled there since the island was uninhabited.

Nauruans were traditionally divided into 12 clans (tribes), which are symbolized by the twelve-pointed star depicted on the national flag of Nauru. These tribes were Iruwa, Eamwit, Eamwitmwit, Emea, Deiboe, Eano, Eoaru, Eamwidira, Emangum, Ranibok, Irutsi, and Iwi. Currently, two of the twelve tribes are extinct – the last representatives of the Irutsi and Iwi tribes were killed during the Japanese occupation of Nauru during World War II. Of the surviving tribes, Iruwa is the most numerous (almost 4,500 people), and Ranibok is the smallest (just a little over 100 people).

Traditionally, Nauruans traced their descent matrilineally, meaning that one inherited their tribe and social class from their mother. Each tribe had a chief; originally, Nauruans didn’t have a supreme chief of all tribes, but this changed at some point (as of the mid-19th century, Nauru was governed by a king who made laws that were enforced by tribal chiefs).

Before the arrival of Europeans, Nauruan tribes coexisted peacefully. Things began to change when Europeans introduced spirits and firearms, disrupting traditional life on the island. Because of this, a heated argument between one of the guests and a young chief at a marriage festival, which resulted in the chief’s death, led to a full-blown civil war that saw the islanders divided into two opposing factions. The war lasted for ten years and resulted in the deaths of 500 Nauruans, reducing the population of the island to 900.

Today, Nauruans live in peace once again, and the tribal division doesn’t play such an important role as it used to. However, the country’s tribal lineage and matrilineal system are an intrinsic and integral part of Nauruan society. To recognize this and celebrate the original 12 tribes of Nauru, the government of Nauru inaugurated the Day of Tribes, which is celebrated each year on August 19. Since it is a public holiday, it is an official day off for all government employees.

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Category

Public Holidays

Country

Nauru

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Day of the Tribes in Nauru, Ibumin Earoeni Day, holidays in Nauru, public holidays, traditional tribes