Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day: May 31
Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day is a public holiday in Fiji.
In honor of the country’s first modern statesman, Fiji marks the last Monday or Friday of May as Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day.
Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna is a known pubic figure in Fiji. He is a true Fijian leader, statesman, scholar, and soldier. He initiated the establishment of powerful government institutions in Fiji which laid the groundwork for the country’s declaration to self-rule in 1970 from the United Kingdom. His vision formed the basis of the country’s economic course until today.
History of Fiji Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day
In May 19, 2000, the military took over and dismissed the then government of Fiji by George Speight’s group, the instigator of the 2000 coup in Fiji. On the celebration of Lala Sukuna Day, the people of Fiji witnessed the change in government and the resignation of President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.
To instill a spirit of unity among Fijians, Laisenia Qarase, the prime minister in 2005 launched a festive celebration under the theme Unity in Diversity. Laisenia Qarase is Fiji’s sixth prime minister. The week was filled with festive celebration which started with the opening of a school in Nabua dedicated to Ratu Sukuna, the Ratu Sukuna Memorial School including the Great Council of Chiefs complex. It ended on May 30 with political speeches delivered by President Ratu Josefa Iloilo and other government officials calling for national unity and solidarity. The Fiji Museum also showcased Lala Sukuna’s photographs and memorabilia including his medals, glass-encased tabua, walking sticks among other things.
On March 18th, 2010, Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day together with Youth Day was removed of their public holiday in Fiji on based on the declaration made by the current Prime Minister of Fiji, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama. The decision was made in part of the changes made in the Employment Relations Promulgation.
Fiji Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day: Traditions, Customs and Activities
Fiji celebrates the holiday with fun events and speeches from local and national government officials. Before the day ends, the President of Fiji delivers a message to the entire Fiji Islander. The celebration is usually tied up to a motto in commemoration of the worthwhile contribution of Lala Sukuna especially in preparing the country for its eventual liberation from British rule.