The Makira-Ulawa region celebrates its national holiday, Makira-Ulawa Province Day, on August 3. This day commemorates the establishment of the province’s government and is a public holiday for everyone. The country celebrates the holiday on the Monday following August 3 if the date happens to fall on a Sunday in a particular year. The day is marked by festivities across the islands in this region, official governmental speeches, and other cultural events.
History of Makira-Ulawa Province Day
The Solomon Islands have been inhabited since around 2,000 B.C. but exploration by people from other lands in June 1598, when Spanish explorer Álvaro de Mendaña y Neira sailed there on his boat. He became the first European to visit this bunch of islands, and he was also responsible for its first name — the Islas Salomón.
After Mendaña y Neira, these islands were not visited again for almost 200 years, until the British colonized parts of these islands. Eventually, the group of islands was in part governed by England and Germany, at least until 1886, when both countries agreed to an equal share in the islands’ governance. Germany eventually handed over all islands to Britain after an agreement in 1899, and the place became a British protectorate. Not all (nine) major island groups were part of British territory.
The occupation was disrupted during the Second World War when the Japanese invaded these islands. Fierce battles, among them the famous and bloody Battle of Guadalcanal, marked this period. The British only regained control of the island at the end of the war, in 1945.
The name of this place, which was called the British Solomon Islands Protectorate until 1975, was changed to the Solomon Islands. They claimed self-governance the following year and achieved complete independence two years on. They changed their name again, dropping the article and becoming the Solomon Islands.
As for the Makira-Ulawa province, its isolation for very long periods during high tide caused a variety of flora and fauna to flourish here, which created a unique biodiverse habitat in the region. The place is also said to have caves so remote that it is only inhabited by the Kakamora or ‘leprechauns of the Pacific,’ a race of Makira-Ulawa people who stand only up to a meter tall. The region and its unique customs — like crocodile wrestling and crab harvesting — have been attracting a lot of interest.
Makira-Ulawa Province Day timeline
The islands are now a constitutional monarchy — a.k.a. a place where the monarchy rules in tandem with the constitution — where before, they were ruled by the British.
All the places making up the Solomon Islands collectively see only 26,000 tourists the entire year, making this place one of the least frequently visited tourist spots in the world.
As a part of a commitment to help provincial governments decide their own development paths, the islands’ national government transfers land back to the Makira-Ulawa Province in a historic ceremony in August.
A favorite food of the Makira-Ulawa people, bananas, is showcased in a traditional festival called De Makira Banana Festival, which is being reintroduced this year.
Makira-Ulawa Province Day FAQs
What country owns the Solomon Islands?
The Solomon Islands are a self-governed group of six major and around 900 smaller islands in Oceania.
What are the Solomons Islands known for?
The main attraction is the islands’ spectacular biodiversity, which, when combined with the unspoiled land and low tourism rates, makes this a very special place.
What is the language of Solomon Islands?
Officially, it’s English, although Pijin is the more commonly spoken language. There are also 80 different local languages and countless dialects.
Makira-Ulawa Province Day Activities
Check out various cultural events
In a world so interconnected digitally, we bet you can find a few cultural and traditional events and activities of the Makira-Ulawa people if you look hard enough. Why not check out documentaries, books, or movies that feature the Solomon Islands too, as a way to familiarize yourself with the culture?
Learn all you can about Makira-Ulawa
This province holds a lot of hidden wonders that are as yet undiscovered by human tourist activities. Learn more about this region and the lands surrounding it. Don't forget to share your knowledge with people around you.
Plan a trip
Why not take in the untouched lands and wilderness in 3.D.? Make a plan to visit this incredible corner of the world that is still (mostly) untouched by tourism.
5 Facts About The Makira-Ulawa Province
Storing food in the Solomon Islands
Once upon a time, food was not stored in the Solomon Islands, except in the Eastern regions, where they used food storage pits to keep food in case there was a food shortage
They have a 'six-month pudding'
Originally from the Makira Ulawa province, this pudding — preserved in coconut oil — can last for up to six months and is still prepared as a delicacy by the Makira people.
Less foot traffic
And out of all the islands, the Makira Province is one of the most isolated.
Makira has a lot of biodiversities
A 182,550 ha tract of forested land in the Eastern part of the Makira Island has even been designated as an Important Bird Area (I.B.A.) by BirdLife International, a group of N.G.O.s striving to protect birds and their habitats globally.
A point of pride
Queen Elizabeth II first stepped foot in the Solomon Islands in East Makira, a fact that makes the Makira-Ulawa people proud to this day.
Why We Love Makira-Ulawa Province Day
The place is rich in biodiversity
Twelve out of 70 bird species are found only in the region, they have more saltwater crocodiles than the other Solomon Islands, and the Makira-Ulawa province is also the only coast where the rare Pacific Ridley turtle is known to visit and rest. Add to this their diverse ecosystems co-existing in this lush forested region, and you have a green paradise.
It is also an untouched gem
Roughly 90% of the land is, as yet, untouched by any tourism. Parts of the community continue to sustain themselves by living off the land. The place has also been described as a pristine adventure paradise that is perfect for birdwatching, nature treks, and more.
We're exploring the world too
This event is steeped in ancient cultures and history that help us understand this land better and develop a kinship with the native people of this region. In seeing how they have lived and thrived, we, too, are exploring a new culture and world.
Makira-Ulawa Province Day dates