The National Sport of Northern Mariana Islands

August 25, 2023


The Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth located in the western Pacific Ocean, is known for its stunning natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and unique traditions. While many sports are enjoyed in the region, one holds a special place as the national sport of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The Origins of the National Sport

The national sport of the Northern Mariana Islands is called Kilikiti. Kilikiti is a traditional bat and ball game that has been played in the region for centuries. It is believed to have been introduced by early Polynesian settlers who inhabited the islands long ago.

Kilikiti is similar to baseball and cricket, but it also incorporates local customs and practices. The game has evolved over time to incorporate elements of both American and Polynesian sports.

How Kilikiti is Played

Kilikiti is played with two teams, each consisting of ten players. The equipment used in the game includes a round wooden bat called a "kilika" and a ball known as a "titi." The field is set up with a rectangular pitch, similar to a baseball diamond.

One team takes turns batting, while the other team fields. The batting team aims to score runs by hitting the ball and running between marked points. The fielding team's goal is to catch the ball or tag the runners to get them out.

The game follows a set of rules that have been passed down through generations, with slight variations depending on the community or tournament in which it is played.

Significance and Cultural Importance

Kilikiti plays a significant role in the cultural fabric of the Northern Mariana Islands. It serves as a way to preserve and celebrate traditional customs, promoting unity, and fostering a sense of community among the islanders.

The sport also helps to strengthen interpersonal relationships and promotes physical well-being among participants. It encourages teamwork, strategic thinking, and physical fitness – all essential qualities valued by the people of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Modern-day Kilikiti

Kilikiti continues to be played throughout the Northern Mariana Islands to this day. Tournaments and friendly matches are organized regularly, attracting enthusiastic participants and spectators from various communities.

Efforts are also being made to promote Kilikiti beyond the islands. The sport has gained recognition and interest from international sporting communities, with teams from the Northern Mariana Islands participating in tournaments abroad.


Kilikiti, the national sport of the Northern Mariana Islands, is a unique combination of traditional and modern elements. It holds immense cultural significance and serves as a symbol of unity, tradition, and community spirit.

As the sport continues to evolve and gain recognition globally, it will undoubtedly remain an integral part of the Northern Mariana Islands' identity for generations to come.

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