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Tupou 1 Day – Public Holiday
When is King Tupou I Day?
King Tupou I Day is a public holiday in Tonga, observed on December 4th.
In accordance with the Public Holidays Act (Cap.51), if Tupou I Day falls on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday, the public holiday shall be celebrated on the next following Monday; and if it falls on a Tuesday or Wednesday, the public holiday will be celebrated on the Monday before.
The holiday marks the start of the reign of King Tupou I on December 4th 1845 and the beginning of modern Tonga as a unified Christian Kingdom under the Tu’i Kanokupolu dynasty.
History of King Tupou I Day
King George (Siaosi) Taufa’ahau Tupou I was Tonga’s first Christian King and he is seen as a key figure in the foundation of Modern Tonga.
Tupou was born around 1797. December 4th is said to be his birthday, but that is not definitive and may have been assumed from the public holiday which as mentioned, celebrates his ascension to the Tongan throne in 1845.
Tupou adopted the name Siaosi, the Tongan version of George, after King George III of the United Kingdom, when he was baptized in 1831.
He was declared King in 1845 following a consolidation of the various tribes that ruled over the area of Tonga. Tupou’s legacy is his help in spreading Christianity across the Pacific and his leadership in avoiding foreign domination from European nations. Despite a close relationship with Britain, Tonga never relinquished its sovereignty unlike many other countries in the region.
Tupou passed away at the age of 96 in 1893 after catching a cold.