Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

MonAug 26

National Day of Repentance – August 26, 2024

National Repentance Day is observed on August 26 every year in Papua New Guinea. The public holiday is celebrated through prayer ceremonies across the country. National Repentance Day is meant to be a day of Christian prayer because Papua New Guinea is a predominantly Christian nation. August 26 had no prior historical or religious significance in Papua New Guinea — the day is simply meant to be an informal day of prayer to “ask the Lord for forgiveness for the wrongs happening in Papua New Guinea.”

History of National Day of Repentance

Papua New Guinea is located in the Oceania region of the world. The International Monetary Fund (I.M.F.) categorized the nation as a developing country. The now sovereign country has a history of being colonized by external powers, including Germany, Australia, and Britain. As a Commonwealth realm, Queen Elizabeth II remains the Queen of Papua New Guinea.

Post-independence, Papua New Guinea bore witness to unstable governments that often fell due to votes of no confidence in the country’s parliament. In 2011, the country saw a constitutional crisis when Patrick O’Neill and Sir Michael Somare claimed to be the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea. Parliament backed O’Neill, while the Supreme Court backed Somare. This stand-off culminated with the July 2012 elections where O’Neill was deemed the country’s Prime Minister and continued serving the people of Papua New Guinea until 2019.

About two weeks after O’Neill claimed Prime Ministership in 2011, he declared that August 26 would be a public holiday by the name of National Repentance Day. The day was initially proposed to O’Neill’s predecessor Sam Abal by a group of churches. Though O’Neill never specified the objective of the holiday, Pastor Jack Edward of the Shema Evangelism Ministry, Repentance Day coordinator, stated that the holiday was intended to be a day of repentance and asking the Lord to forgive the ills happening within the country.

National Day of Repentance timeline

Independence from Australia

Papua New Guinea gains independence from Australia on September 16.

Sam Abal Voted Out

Sam Abal loses the Prime Ministership in a vote of no confidence on August 2.

Patrick O’Neill Voted In

Parliament votes O’Neill in as the new Prime Minister on the same day Sam Abal is voted out.

First Repentance Day

The first Repentance Day is observed in Papua New Guinea on August 26.

National Day of Repentance FAQs

Is repentance day a public holiday?

National Day of Repentance is a public holiday in Papua New Guinea.

What is repentance in the Bible?

In the Christian faith, repentance is when a person turns to God and away from sin. It is usually regarded as a phase in the salvation process.

How many times is repentance mentioned in the Bible?

Repentance is mentioned 26 times in the Old and New Testaments.

How to Observe National Day of Repentance

  1. Attend church

    As a day of Christian prayer, Repentance Day is a religious holiday. If you’re so inclined, attend church and join Papua New Guineans in prayer.

  2. Read up on Papua New Guinea’s history

    Papua New Guinea has a rich history. And while you’re at it, read up on the country’s modern history as well.

  3. Donate to a charitable organization

    There are several charitable organizations dedicated to improving the lives of people living in Papua New Guinea. If it’s within your means, consider donating to one.

5 Facts About Papua New Guinea

  1. Third largest island nation

    Papua New Guinea is the third-largest island nation in the world, behind Indonesia and Madagascar.

  2. Global biodiversity

    Papua New Guinea is home to 5% of the world’s biodiversity.

  3. Linguistic diversity

    Papua New Guinea is the most linguistically diverse country globally, with 851 languages.

  4. Primary resources

    Papua New Guinea’s primary resources are gold and copper.

  5. Sahul

    Along with Tasmania and Australia, Papua New Guinea was part of the prehistoric continent Sahul.

Why National Day of Repentance is Important

  1. It highlights public sentiment

    Considering that a large part of the country’s population is Christian, the demand for a holiday like this is possibly reflective of the public sentiment towards the situation in the country. It is always good to note a country’s general sentiment as it may indicate stability or lack thereof.

  2. It educates us about Papua New Guinea’s history

    The declaration of this holiday came during a tumultuous time in the history of Papua New Guinea, yet the country has overcome. This holiday serves as a good excuse to read up on Papua New Guinea’s political and other history.

  3. It’s a unique holiday

    A religious holiday with no prior historical or religious significance is rather rare. It’s an interesting occurrence to observe.

National Day of Repentance dates

2024August 26Monday
2025August 26Tuesday
2026August 26Wednesday
2027August 26Thursday
2028August 26Saturday

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.