A Guide to Peniamina Gospel Day in Niue
Peniamina Gospel Day, also known simply as Gospel Day, is a day to commemorate when Niuean missionary, Nukai Peniamina, brought Christianity to Niue. With more than 80% of Niue’s population identifying with one of Niue’s main Christian denominations and many of the island’s customs influenced by this religion, Peniamina Gospel Day and the story of Peniamina is extremely significant. Find out more about the public holiday in this guide to Peniamina Gospel Day in Niue.
When is Peniamina Gospel Day?
Peniamina Gospel Day in Niue is on the fourth Friday of October.
The exact date changes each year, so Peniamina Gospel Day has been/will be on these dates of the following years:
- 23 October 2020
- 22 October 2021
- 28 October 2022
- 27 October 2023, etc.
What is Peniamina Gospel Day?
26 October 1846 was the day that Nukai Peniamina returned to Niue and began preaching Christianity to Niueans. As a country where the vast majority of its citizens are Christian, this day is considered very significant in Niue.
A Brief History of Christianity in Niue
Although the first white missionary arrived in Niue around 1830, Niueans didn’t convert to Christianity until preached by one of their own.
Nukai Peniamina had been living in Samoa after moving there with his friend, Niumaga, who’d been rejected from Nieuan society for being kidnapped by a missionary. It was another famous missionary, however, Dr. John Turner, who taught Peniamina how to read, write and converted him to Christianity.
On 26 October 1846, Peniamina returned to Niue, bringing with him Christain ideals and converted his village of Mutalau. Although Peniamina was met with hostility by other villages initially (Tauei Fupiu Fort is famously known for being the fort that Mutulau used to protect Peniamina), by the time another famous missionary, George Lawes, arrived in 1861, almost all of the population of Niue welcomed him as devout Christians.
For more about the history of the island, see A Brief History of Niue.
The Peniamina Gospel Day Public Holiday
Peniamina Gospel Day is recognised in Niue as a public holiday. This means that government services and many businesses close on this day, so keep this in mind if you plan to visit Niue during the fourth Friday of October. It will be unlikely that you’ll be able to partake in guided tours and experiences during this time.
Learn more about the public holidays in our guide to the Public Holidays in Niue (& Other Important Dates).
How Niue Celebrates Peniamina Gospel Day
Aside from being a public holiday, Peniamina Gospel Day is mainly celebrated in the spiritual setting of the local churches. Many of the Christian population of the island gather in the main church in Alofi, Ekalasia Niue, and each of the island’s 13 Ekalasia churches (churches of Niue’s own Christian denomination) sings a hymn. Several leaders in the community are chosen to lead prayers while a government representative, usually the Premier, also makes a speech. Of course, the story of Nukai Peniamina is re-told on this day.
To wrap it all up, there is usually feasting with singing and dancing.
Learn more about Niue’s churches using our 5 Best Churches in Niue to Experience as a Visitor.