The awaited birth of Eidagaruwo. (Eidagaruwo was the baby girl born on the count for the first Angam Day on the 26 october 1932. Although the national effort was repeated in march 1949, Eidagaruwo’s birthday os maintained for this wateshed event in Nauru’s history)
On Eidagaruwo’s birthday, there were also three other mothers in the hospital ward at that time awaited to give birth. It was a tense moment for the mothers who were trying to be the mother to give birth to the Nauruan child who would cap the target of 1,500 population figure.
Destined mother Dorcas Demuro delivered into life the long-awaited baby. She was called the name “Eidagaruwo” expressing the feeling of “reaching home” or “attaining a goal”. Eidagaruwo’s name was given to her by the Administrator and Chiefs.
Eidagaruwo’s birth brought both good news and relief not only to the nation but also to the other three mothers who were waiting with abated breath.
The cry of Eidagaruwo rallied a big celebration throughout the island to celebrate the occasion. Various sports were played in districts like itsibweb, wrestling, ekaraduga, itsibwebwe, ekeniw egaro,and amongst others iruwo.
That night big bonfires were lit on the beach on every district and Chiefs went around the island to judge who had the biggest bonfire.
Lo and behold, as it turned out Aiwo District had the biggest bonfire with winning blue flames, a result of stoking the fire with pieces of copper wire.
During the early days of foreign contact, the Nauruan population suffered and died from the introduction of diseases which up until then were unknown to the people living on an island isolated from all.
As early as 1902, an influenza epidemic took toll of no less than 219 lives. At the time of the initial phosphate operations during 1905 the population was about 1,550. With the introduction of labour for the phosphate operations, a sudden downward trend in brought by the newly introduced labour. This spate of epidemics included many casualties among the Nauruan people. During 1907, infantile paralysis which systematically killed the Nauruan population.
The arrival of Brigadier Griffiths in 1921 gave a new dimension to this serious and local chiefs, a campaign was implemented to bring to attention the fact that if Nauruans were to survive as a nation and their identity to live at all times of 1,500.
The age old problem of population decimation by tribal warfare had been countered adversely by alien diseases and as one was growth was stagnant, if not negative.
One incentive offered by the Administration in conjunction with Nauruan Chiefs and elders, was a “prize” to the Nauruan lady whose child brought the population figure up to 1,500 and that day to go down in Nauruan history and celebrated as a national holiday.
Population growth continued with a steady increase to 1,800. However, the worst had yet to come with the outbreak of World War 11, and the consequent deportation of no less than 1,200 able-bodied Nauruans from the population plunged to an exhausted overall figure of approximately 1,300.
There can be no doubt that the turning point in Nauruan survival (and history) was the advent of the deported during wartime hostilities. While there was no to little growth during the forty years from 1905 to 1942, the period between 1942 and 1982 may be regarded as a Nauruan renaissance. In the span of forty years, the population of Nauru stood at over 5,000 in 1982. The danger of extinction has been averted.
“Angam Day” celebrated on 26 October is regarded as a very special and significant day to the Nauruan people.