Samoa People, Culture, Festivals
People, culture, festival and all other basic elements of life together, make up the distinctive country and the lifestyle of Samoa. Samoa is an island country that is comprised of ten islands.
This island had been coveted by America, Germany and New Zealand. At present this island country is divided into Eastern Samoa and Western Samoa. There are some difference in lifestyle of the people between these two parts.
Samoa culture is a very rich one with distinctive traditions, cuisines, dance, dress patterns and also various forms of handicrafts. The main aspect of Samoa culture may be said to be the togetherness in almost every aspect of life. This togetherness is the key in every family in Samoa. Samoan people have their own dance style that is accompanied with traditional music. Their dresses are also part of their culture. In Samoa, people observe all the international holidays and events. Apart from this, there are a number of cultural festivals that the Samoan people celebrate each year.
Samoa culture is very rich with a number of distinctive features. In the heart of the Samoa culture there lie the respect and obligation for togetherness and family. Samoa culture can be said to be woven round large groups of families. From this basic structure of family there came the highest rank in the traditional Samoa society and also several other traditional ways of life. However, at present, Samoa culture also bears the sign of being influenced by other cultures outside the island.
In the integrated pattern of Samoa culture, there is the high social rank of Matai, who is the traditional chief of a Samoa society. Matai has the responsibility to take care of the civic, political, family matters and other needs of the Samoa society. Aiga, which means extended large family, is another aspect of a traditional Samoa society and their culture. Samoa culture also includes a number of native dance forms like, Siva, Sasa, Taualunga and some others.
Samoan festivals are of many types. There are festivals in Samoathat are traditional and cultural and again, Samoan people celebrate many of the Christian festivals as well being a Christian country. In Samoathere are holidays on several Christian religious days for religious observation. Many festivals are related to these religious observations.
But perhaps the most popular one among a number of Samoa festivals is the fire knife festival. This is a traditional festival that is becoming popular worldwide. A number of fire knife competitions are held through out the year. One of such popular competition is arranged by the Polynesian Cultural Center. Moreover this organization arranges a Samoa Festival also where many high schools compete against each other. Apart from several song and dance festivals there are many other categories in this Samoa Festival, where students from these high schools compete. With a number of other festivals, Samoa life in general is very colorful.
Samoa religion can be roughly divided into two groups. The early religion that used to exists before the contact of Samoa with the outside world and the present religion, the Christian religion. Before the arrival of the Christian missionaries in this island country, there had been primitive religion in Samoa. In this religion, which can be characterized as pantheistic, the Samoan people used to worship birds, stone, sea, rivers as their god and goddesses. But the arrival of Christianity, these people came in contact with a new world and religious faith.
In the primitive religion of Samoa, that is a kind of Pagan religion, the Samoan people used to worship various forms of nature as their gods. They were very much superstitious also. Whatever hardship they had to face at this phase, the Samoan people used to believe that some god has been displeased with them and they used to pray to abate his anger. But this form of religion had a much limited scope and as soon as Christianity arrived in Samoa, most of the Samoan people converted in this new form of religion.
Officially Christianity arrived in Samoa with missionary John Williams in 1830. He came from the London Missionary Society. But even before his arrival in this island nation, the Samoan people had already been familiarized with Christianity thorough the sailors and travelers here. Two years before the arrival of John Williams, one Methodist, named, Peter Turner came in this island and saw that Methodists Christians already exist in this island. In fact, Christianity is the religion which brought Samoa into the connection with the outer world.
Samoa Food is greatly liked by the local people as well as the tourists. If the local people go anywhere else to meet their friends or relatives they take food for them. The food is never very spicy. The ingredients like cooked breadfruit, taro, taro leaves, cooked green bananas and raw fish are not familiar to the tourists.
The Samoa Food preparing process include
Umu: This is a traditional process for cooking food. Green bananas, breadfruit, taro, fish and lu’au are cooked together in this process.
Oka: It is the process in which the Samoans prepare and serve raw fish. Small bits of fishes are are left to marinate in the mixture of lemon juice, coconut cream, salt and onions.
Lu’au: This is the most famous Food of Samoa. The ingredients are taro leaf, coconut cream and onion. This is cooked in umu. It has a wonderful, unforgettable taste.
Pe’epe’e: It is a sauce used with various preparations.
Sea: This delicacy is made from sea slug. It is sold in coke bottles.
Supoesi: This hot soup made up of pawpaw and coconut is eaten in breakfast.
Supasui: This is actually a kind of chop suey. Beef, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and onion are the main ingredients.
Povi Masima: This is simply a version of salt beef known all over the world.
Fausi: This is a kind of desert. Usually it is made of taro. But pumpkin is used to make it outside the island.