A Guide to Christmas in Vanuatu

20th December 2013

Christmas on the Beach

The Ni-Van people of Vanuatu follow the Christian calendar and especially like to celebrate the Christmas tradition and New Year's, known as Bonane. Like many places all over the world, the people of Vanuatu celebrate the festive season by returning to their villages where they form choirs and perform secular and religious sounds for neighbouring hamlets.

However, unlike residents of the Northern Hemisphere who are roasting chestnuts on an open fire and rugging up against the winter chill of a white Christmas, Vanuatu prepares for a tropical Christmas that offers all the charm of the South Pacific and a unique way to experience such a wonderful time of year.

Christmas in Vanuatu must be experienced at least once in life and although the different conditions may feel a little strange to those used to celebrating in cooler climates, the unique mid-summer Christmas experience in Vanuatu means swapping a yuletide baked ham or roast turkey for fresh seafood, cold meat and salads.

Aside from the traditional religious celebrations, there are plenty of festivities on offer for the large number of tourists who enjoy spending Christmas in Vanuatu. At night the streets are illuminated by the flow of fairy lights while during the day, the shops and streets are decked in Christmas decorations. Amusingly, the traditional image of Santa Claus, complete with fur-lined red suit, hatted elves and falling snowflakes is everywhere. However, the closest you'll get to snow in these parts is the soft white sand beaches, not too bad a trade-off really!

Perhaps one of the best things about celebrating Christmas in Vanuatu is the ability to join in the festivities any way you like. Whether you enjoy a low-key beach picnic of fresh seafood, cold meats and salads while the kids frolic about in the water, go right ahead. If you want to go the whole hog and have an all-out European luncheon complete with bonbons, paper crowns, roast meat, veggies, gravy and all the trimmings, well you can go right ahead and do that too.

Unsurprisingly, as some of the friendliest people in the world, the people of Vanuatu are just happy to celebrate with you. Visit Vanuatu anytime of the year with a customised holiday package.

Iririki Island