NAURU: Angam Day

Stamps with both Angam Babies – one as a baby and one as an adult. Source: Hipstamp

Angam Day, celebrated on October 26, is a really interesting public holiday celebrated in Nauru. Angam Day commemorates when the Nauruan population hit 1500 people, the number considered necessary for the survival of the Naruan people. “Angam” is a Nauruan word that means “celebration” and has connotations with “meeting goals” or “homecoming”.

Since Nauru’s population has fluctuated, there actually have been two Angams – each celebrated by the birth of official baby #1500. The first Angam Baby, Eidagaruwo, was born on October 26, 1932, and her birth was celebrated with bonfires tinged blue with copper.

Unfortunately, during WWII, the population of Nauru suffered – both between Japanese occupation and forced deportation of Nauruans, as well as Allied bombings. Tragically Eidagaruwo, then a teen, died of malnutrition on Truk (Chuuk) Lagoon, where about half the Naururan population had been taken.

The second Angam Baby, Bethel Enproe Adam, was born on March 31, 1949 – Nauruans began to celebrate Angam Day again, though keeping it on the original baby’s birthdate. I can’t find much else about Bethel Enproe Adam – she would have just turned 72 about a week ago, if she’s still around.

Angam Day is celebrated with parties, sports competitions (including fishing), and traditional dances. There’s a great clip here from Angam Day celebrations in 2016 – there’s some really skilled traditional dance that starts at around the 4 minute mark:

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