Samoa: Holidays and Events
There are a number of public holidays that do not have a fixed date but are based on the time of Easter. Easter falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Lent, which lasts for 46 days, begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Pentecost is 50 days after Easter. Corpus Christi is celebrated on the second Thursday after Pentecost. All Saints’ Day is celebrated for Orthodox Christians on the first Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st. On October 31, Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. The Halloween festival also takes place on this day.
|17th April||Flag tag|
|April 25||ANZAC-Day, the day of the Australian and New Zealand war veterans|
|May||Aso o Tina, Mother’s Day|
|June 1-3||National holiday, the independence (1962) of New Zealand is celebrated|
|October November||Palolo day|
Source: Countryaah – Samoa Holidays
Regular cultural events
In this competition the traditional men, in women’s clothes, disguised as drag queens, compete in performances.
Due to its proximity to the equator, the climate in Samoa is hot and humid all year round. The rainy season is from November to April, the dry season from May to October. The dry season is the best time to visit the country.
|Month||Average number of rainy days||Mean maximum temperatures in (°C)||Mean minimum temperatures|
Samoa: national customs
Ava ceremony, Kava
Ava is also called kava in other Polynesian countries. The Ava or Kava ceremony is cultivated in the entire Pacific culture and held according to strict rules. The kava drink is made by chewing the kava root soft and then diluting it with water. This mixture is then filtered with the help of coconut fibers and then served in half a coconut shell.
According to the hierarchy, the bowl is passed around among the men present and can be drunk all at once. Nowadays, the intoxicating drink is also served as a social drink, and women are also allowed to participate in kava drinking in less conservative environments. In Samoa, the drink was traditionally served by a virgin, usually the daughter of the skinling.
Kava is a pepper plant. It was used in the pharmaceutical industry as an antidepressant and as a remedy for high blood pressure. Demand was correspondingly high until the end of the 1990s. A German study showed that the consumption of kava can lead to liver damage. As a result, the active ingredient was largely withdrawn from the market.
Fa’afafine means: like a woman. In Samoa it is not uncommon for men to walk around dressed as women and behave like them. They are a traditional part of Samoan culture. Since Fa’afafine do both women’s and men’s work, they are very valued in their families.
The fiafia is a dance event that begins with various dances, such as war dances, and ends with a solo dance by a high-ranking woman.
The fire dance with fire torches is performed individually or in a group. The torches burn on both sides and are juggled acrobatically in the air.
Traditionally, there is still a lot of tattooing in Samoa. It is predominantly the men who are tattooed from the waist to the knees, which looks like the tattooed person is wearing cycling shorts. The tattoos are mostly hidden and are only shown on ritual occasions and dances. The women are only tattooed on their thighs.
Using shark teeth, the dye is “hammered” into the skin in a painful procedure. The process of tattooing must be carried out in one operation and must not be interrupted.
In the past, many tattoo artists were brought to Tonga because the local population was not allowed to touch the chiefs because of their holiness. It therefore required outsiders to carry out this procedure.
Bark fiber, tapa, also called siapo
, there were no weaving mills on almost all Pacific islands, except on the Carolines and Santa Cruz Islands. Fabrics were and are traditionally made from the bark of the mulberry tree. This is first soaked and then tapped until the pieces are many times their original size. The individual pieces are then joined together by felting. This is how long fabrics are made. In Samoa and Tonga these fabrics can reach lengths of several hundred meters. The tapas are rolled up and given as gifts on special occasions.
The motifs are painted on using stencils or matrices. Each group of islands has its own individual pattern. In Samoa, the patterns are predominantly printed onto the bark using wooden stamps. The Siapo production is mainly operated for tourists and is no longer as common as z. B. in neighboring Tonga.
Before the Europeans arrived, a god was worshiped in Samoa. He was called Tangaloa and was the sky god and the father of creation. The parallels with Christianity are obvious. In addition to political reasons, that was certainly an important reason why the Samoans were so open to Christianity.
Christianity nowadays occupies an immensely important place in Samoan society.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that WSM stands for the nation of Samoa as a two-letter acronym.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
There are currently no UNESO world cultural or natural heritage sites in Samoa. However, the inclusion of two sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List is currently being discussed:
- Fagaloa Bay – Uafato Tiavea Conservation Zone
- Manono, Apolima and Nuulopa Cultural Landscape
With around 40,000 residents, Apia is by far the largest city and the capital of Samoa. Apia is on the north coast of the Upolu Islands.
Fale of the University of Samoa
The largest structure of its kind in the Pacific.
Fale is the name for the traditional residential or assembly buildings in Samoa. The houses with an oval floor plan were traditionally built without walls near the beach to use the sea breeze for cooling. The structure of the building was fixed without nails, only by means of lashing connections, a kind of weaving technique made of coconut fibers, called ‘ofa, which are visible as multi-colored connections with traditional patterns.
The roof is made of coconut leaves and the floor is made of woven panda nut mats, which are placed on either gravel or coral subsoil.
In the rainy season, blinds or mats are rolled down and thus serve as walls.
The highlighted fales in the village are used for gathering purposes and are called “Fale talimalo”.
Fale in Saleapaga and Lalomanu on Upolu Island.
Robert Louis Stevenson Museum
The museum is located in the author’s former home. It is located in Apia on Mount Vaea.
Museum of Samoa
The museum is located on Beach Road. Here, old photos, tapas and other traditional artifacts are displayed in two rooms.
Tia Seu ancient Mound
The Tia Seu ancient Mound is the largest and oldest structure in Polynesia. It is pyramidal in shape and has a base of 64 m by 60 m and a height of 12 m. There are similar constructions in Tonga. The pyramid is located on the island of Savaii not far from the Afu Aau waterfall. From the main road you have to walk approx. 40 minutes inland or drive up with an off-road vehicle.
Churches submerged in lava in Saleaula village The Saleaula
village was covered by the lava masses of Mount Matavanu in 1905 and 1911. You can visit the ruins of two half-buried churches.
Sacred Heart in Upolu, Argelo Tausi Church in Upolu, Sapapali Methodist Church
The tomb with a plaque commemorating the missionary John Williams (1796-1839). The plaque is opposite the London Missionary Society (LMS) administration building on Beach Road
University of the South Pacific
The University of the South Pacific was founded in 1968. Due to the geography of the South Pacific states, the university is spread over many locations. The University of the South Pacific is funded by 12 states, these are:
- Cook Islands
- Fiji Islands
- Marshal Islands
- Solomon Islands
The main campus of the university is located in Suva, Fiji Islands. A total of around 16,000 students are currently studying at all branches. The University of the South Pacific offers the following degree programs:
- Agricultural Sciences
- Computer science
- Social sciences
- environmental Protection
National University of Samoa
The National University of Samoa was founded in Apia in 1984. Currently about 2,000 students attend the following faculties:
- Natural sciences
Natural stone slide in Papasee ‘a Pool
Samoa National Marine Reserve
Piula Cave Pools
Afu Aau waterfall on the island of Savaii
Here you can take a cool bath in the pool below the waterfall, which is not available in the dry season.
Alofaaga Blowholes on the island of Savaii
Blowholes are fountains of water that are created when the water from the surf is pressed through holes in the bank rock. This creates fountains up to 15 m high. If you throw coconuts into the “blowhole” they will be catapulted out of the hole with the fountain.
Swim with turtles in Satoalepai
In the village of Satoalepai, in the northeast of the island of Savaii, the residents of the village have built a natural pool on the edge of the “wetlands”. Here the visitor can bathe with a large number of turtles. Don’t forget your goggles. In the huts around the pool, called Fale, you can also spend the night including breakfast and dinner.
Falealupo Rainforest Reserve
In the reserve in northwestern Savaii there is a canopy hiking trail in the treetops. You climb the trees using a ladder and then walk on suspension bridges through the treetops.
If you want, you can also spend the night here.
Surfing in Samoa is more for experienced surfers. Strong currents and sharp reefs are not to be underestimated.
Surf spots are on the island of Upolo:
- Nu ‘usaf’e about 10 km east of Apia
- Cape Niuato’i
on Savai’e Island:
- Fagamolo on the north coast
- Satuiatua on the southwest coast
Snorkeling, hiking, kayaking You
can also snorkel, hike and kayak along the coast.