- 1 Samoan Culture
- 2 The Spirit of Fa’a Samoa: Traditions at the Heart of Samoan Culture • • FamilySearch Blog
- 3 2. Samoan Cuisine
- 4 3. Samoan Tattooing
- 5 4. Weddings
- 6 5. Entertainment
- 7 Samoan Cultural Practices
- 8 Samoan Culture
- 8.1 IMPORTANT DATES IN THE SAMOAN CALENDAR
- 9 Samoan Traditions
- 10 Entertainment in Samoa
- 11 Samoan Arts and Crafts
- 12 Samoa Islands Sports
- 13 Samoa – Cultural life
- 14 Daily life and social customs
- 15 The arts
- 16 Cultural institutions
- 17 Sports and recreation
- 18 Media and publishing
- 19 All You Need To Know About Samoa – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly – Craving Adventure
- 20 Where is Samoa?
- 21 Samoan culture
- 22 The Good
- 23 The Bad
- 24 The Ugly
- 25 Samoa FAQ
- 25.1 What language is spoken in Samoa?
- 25.2 Is Samoa safe to visit?
- 25.3 What is the best time of year to go to Samoa?
- 25.4 How many days do you need in Samoa?
- 25.5 Does it get cold in Samoa?
- 25.6 Does Samoa have Internet?
- 25.7 Is Samoan food spicy?
- 25.8 Is Samoa worth it?
- 25.9 Have you been to Samoa? Would you like to go? Drop your questions and thoughts in the comments bellow!
- 26 Culture & Customs
- Friendly Samoans
- Friendliness, modesty, respect, reciprocity, and a sense of belonging
Samoa is a collection of islands in the southern Pacific Ocean that are located in the heart of Polynesia, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. In 1962, after more than a century of foreign influence, Samoa was granted its own independence from New Zealand. Before that, the country was known as Western Samoa until 1997. Despite the fact that certain components of traditional culture have altered as a result of exchanges with the West, many aspects of the Samoan way of life (fa’aSamoa) continue to survive today.
Generally speaking, people in modern-day Samoa are kind, respectable people who are proud of their past.
As of 2011, the great majority of Samoans are descended from Polynesians, with around 96 percent of the population identifying as ethnically Samoan.
- 2 Samoan culture is typically devoid of friction, which is partly due to and a history of intermarriage that has blurred the lines between different social groups.
- A tight relation exists between the Samoan language and the languages of Maori, Tahitian, Hawaiian, and Tongan.
- Samoan also has a formal variety that is used in official communication, as well as a colloquial variant that is utilized in everyday conversation.
- Samoa is a fictional character created by author Faa Samoa.
- When we say Fa’a Samoa, we’re referring to an intricate cultural code that directs and educates people on how to live their lives.
- Samoans continue to seek to preserve fa’a Samoa, despite the fact that some of the country’s values and practices have altered since the island first came into contact with Europe.
- Following fa’a Samoa instills a sense of pride and respect among members of the Samoan society, as well as a sense of social togetherness.
Observing fa’a Samoan customs is intimately related with respecting one’s family, according to many.
According to one’s connection and standing with others, the manner in which they honor their family differs.
Matai and the Social Structure It is the system of governance known as ” fa’aMatai” that underpins Samoan society.
Aiga members are supposed to be generous with their assets and to put the interests of the group or community ahead of their own personal interests.
Matai are in charge of administrative tasks as well as the preservation of the village’s traditions and customs, among other things.
The status of Matai is widely revered throughout the people.
The first is the supreme chief of the country, village or family – known as the Ali’i.
The second category of matai are the Tulafale, or talking chiefs, who are in charge of carrying out the various oral traditions and responsibilities that exist throughout fa’a Samoan society.
An individual Samoan is appointed as the Matai of a village through the intricate and complicated hierarchical Matai system, which involves a consensus-based voting process.
The Matai was previously a male-dominated organization, although presently women can rise to positions of leadership.
In order to be considered a Taupou, the lady must be related to the family or community via blood and be the daughter of an Ali’i.
They are responsible for ensuring that the family or village is self-sufficient and well-nourished, as well ensuring that social order is maintained across the whole community.
When it comes to acquiring resources, Matai tend to be more powerful than other people because of their capacity to mobilize and disperse resources.
Despite this, the fa’a Matai system continues to function as a vital aspect of fa’a Samoa.
In the nineteenth century, Christian missionaries sought to eradicate the practice of tattooing from numerous Polynesian islands, but were unsuccessful.
The tatau, which was formerly an important component of traditional Samoan society, is currently seeing a resurgence in contemporary Samoa.
Traditionally, only Matai was known to be in possession of a tatau.
The majority of individuals will go to a localtufuga (tattoo artist) while they are in their early adult years to get their tatau done.
The artist will next create a tatau based on the information gathered.
Intricate geometrical designs and imbedded symbols, as well as particular significance for the user of the tatau, distinguish each one of these tatoos.
When it comes to males, tatau is referred to aspe’a, which is comprised of elaborate geometrical designs covering areas ranging from the waist down to the knees.
Tatau placement varies depending on whether the wearer is Matai or not, with the most typical location being on the arm.
Geographical location and way of life In Samoa, there is a tendency to draw a boundary between urban and rural environments.
Local law governs the village area, and it might differ from village to village depending on the circumstances.
A large number of people who reside in places like as Apia frequently relocate in order to earn more money for their families and communities.
While village and city living have distinct differences in terms of employment and lifestyle, there are some broad commonalities between the two environments.
Interactions and respect on a daily basis Samoans are generally pleasant and cheerful individuals that greet others with a grin when they meet them.
For example, being friendly to friends, family, and new acquaintances is something that is quite common and highly respected.
On a regular basis, many people may socialize with their family and friends, particularly on Sundays after attending church services.
Numerous examples demonstrate the significance of fa’Aaloalo in various contexts.
In addition, there is the term ‘gagaganafa’aaloalo, which refers to unique speech that is used to express respect, particularly while speaking to a Matai.
Whereas the vast majority of Samoans adhere to the laws and customs that underpinfa’aSamoa, Samoan families that live in other countries may take a more casual attitude to cultural etiquette. 1 The Central Intelligence Agency published a report in 20162 titled Central Intelligence Agency, 2016
The Spirit of Fa’a Samoa: Traditions at the Heart of Samoan Culture • • FamilySearch Blog
Fa’a Samoa is a phrase that literally translates as “The Samoan Way” in the beautiful Samoan language. The expression alludes to the Samoan culture and customs, which permeate the daily lives of many Samoans and give them meaning. Offa’a Samoais’aiga, the Samoan term for family, is at the core of everything. “A” is defined as a person who belongs to a larger family group, which may encompass extended family and the wider community. Close familial and community relationships are extremely important in Samoan culture and tradition, and this is reflected across the whole country.
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Many aspects of Samoan culture are mirrored in a collective governance system known asfa’amatai, which means “collective system of government.” Those who lead in this system are required to demonstrate attributes of selflessness, placing the interests of the community and their own family members above their own personal interests. Thus, these village leaders, also known as matais, are held in high regard by the people who entrust them with their care. Despite the fact that this traditional framework has begun to shift through time, the concepts of service and community have remained constant throughout history.
They have a natural ability to welcome and embrace just about everybody they come across.
2. Samoan Cuisine
Several traditional cultural events, and even everyday life, are based on food and feasts. The use of coconut milk and cream is prevalent in the local cuisine. On Sunday mornings, many Samoan families prepare their meals in an umu, which is an above-ground stone oven. Breadfruit, taro, coconuts, bananas, fish, chicken, and pig are all staples in Samoan cuisine, and they play an important role in both ordinary meals and special celebrations as well.
3. Samoan Tattooing
Samoan culture is a treasure trove of customs and traditions. One well-known custom is the tatau, or Samoan tattooing, which dates back centuries. Tattoos, much like clothing styles, are frequently considered a form of ornamentation or self-expression in Western society. In Samoa, the tatau has a deeper, more historical importance than most people realize. Samoan tattoos are one-of-a-kind emblems that signify an individual’s religious beliefs and familial relationships. They also serve to indicate a person’s social standing or esteem within a community.
Another wonderful Samoan ritual is the celebration of marriage. Samoan spouses do not demand presents from their visitors, in keeping with their warm, welcoming, and altruistic nature.
Instead, they are the ones who hand out the presents, which are determined by the social standing of their visitors. In Samoan tradition, this gift-giving helps the couple immediately begin to establish themselves as a new family in their society by allowing them to share their joy with others.
Singing, dancing, and eating are all popular forms of entertainment in Samoa, as is taking in the breathtaking scenery. Deep-sea diving, surfing, fishing, volleyball, and rugby are all popular activities on the islands, and depending on the weather, you may see a lot of them. Listed below are a few different types of entertainment that are peculiar to Samoa.
Kilikiti—Samoa’s Version of Cricket
kilikiti is the national sport of Samoa. This distinctive Samoan variant of cricket was developed when English missionaries brought cricket to the islands in the 19th century, and has since become the country’s most popular sport. The hibiscus or breadfruit tree is commonly used to make the sport’s bat, while the rubber ball is created from latex fiber from the pulu vao tree, also known as the rubber tree, which is wound tightly around a wooden shaft.
Coconut husking is a traditional form of entertainment that is being practiced today. Samoans split open coconuts with a long stick, and they may even husk the coconuts with their teeth, according to this tradition. Competitions for husking coconuts are common in many communities.
Siva Afi—Fire Knife Dancing
Siva Afi is a traditional dance that involves the twisting of a flaming knife while doing remarkable acrobatic acrobatics. It is also known as fire knife dancing or fire knife juggling. Samoan warriors used to perform the dance as a method to display their power and fighting ability thousands of years ago. Samoan culture is beautiful and full of deep, personal connections, which is why it is celebrated. Its impact has expanded to include populations far beyond the islands, which has benefited from it.
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It is an exquisite country, rich in culture, history, and tradition. Samoa is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. The culture of Samoa is governed by Fa’a Samoa, which may be translated as ‘The Samoan Way,’ and is highly centered on family, respect for elders, and being of service to those in need. The matai (chiefs), the aiga (extended family), and the church are the three main structural aspects of Fa’a Samoa society. Faka Samoa is an important aspect of how Samoans live their lives and celebrate the diversity of their cultures and values.
Samoan Cultural Practices
There are around 360 communities located throughout the Samoan islands, with approximately 18,000 matai living in each. The traditional dwellings, known as fale, are built on the principle of openness, with the architecture reflecting the friendly lifestyle of the Samoans. Fales are generally circular in design, with no walls and a domed ceiling, and they are constructed of wood.
Because of their simplicity, the fales may be protected from the elements with coconut-leaf shutters that can be lowered during rain or wind. At any given moment, up to 20 persons from the same aiga will be sleeping in the same fale.
“Ava ceremony” refers to a traditional Samoan practice that has been passed down through the centuries. The ‘ava drink, which is similar to those found in Fiji, is produced from the pulverized root of a pepper plant and is customarily sipped at major meetings and government functions. Participants will sit cross-legged in a circle, guided by the high chief of the hosting village, to make and consume the ‘ava, followed by a customary feast.
Tatau, also known as tattooing, is a deeply religious tradition that has been practiced by Samoan men for more than 2000 years. In this technique, known as the Pe’a, elaborate designs are tattooed over the body from the waist down to the knees in a variety of colors. It is frequently seen as a rite of passage for males, as well as a symbol of spiritual maturation. In this method, a skilled tattooist use handcrafted instruments made of shark teeth, bone, tusks, and shells to complete the design.
According to legend, leaving the tattoo incomplete will bring humiliation to the man’s family.
Song and Dance
Samoan culture is characterized by the presence of song and dance. The traditional dance is known as the siva, and it is performed by ladies and contains smooth, flowing movements as well as moving stories that are inspirational. The fa’ataupati is a traditional Samoan dance in which men perform with fire, knives, and drums. These incredible performances are a very popular tourist attraction and a must-see spectacle while visiting the country.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of a visit to Samoa is that traditional culture is not only on display at tourist destinations. Many parts of Samoan culture and society continue to be influenced by the ancient tradition of Fa’a Samoa (the Samoan way), which has been practiced for more than 3000 years and can still be found in most aspects of contemporary Samoan culture and society. To understand Samoan culture, you must first understand the three fundamental pillars that support it: the church, close and extended family, and the tribe or village that you belong to.
Because to Samoan beliefs and a collective style of thought, people are generally amicable.
Staying in a beach fale, as everyone should, increases your chances of dining with the locals, playing in their playground, and even listening in on their gossip.
It is crucial to respect Samoan customs, especially in rural areas, just as it is in any other country.
It has been more than three thousand years since Fa’a Samoa – the Samoan way – has been practiced in Samoa, and it can be seen in every element of the country’s community culture. Fa’a Samoa is a festival that promotes traditional values, culture, and the natural environment. The matai (chiefs), the aiga (extended family), and the Christian church are the three most important foundations of Fa’a Samoa’s society.
Traditionally, matai are the heads of their extended families in Samoan culture, but their position in the nu’u (village) includes civic and political responsibilities as well.
Sunday is a day of rest and relaxation. When many tourist sites are available, it is anticipated that you would behave quietly and move carefully through the villages while visiting them. If you are staying in a family-run establishment, it is possible that your hosts will not serve a cooked breakfast on Sundays. There is an evening prayer curfew that is normally enforced between six and seven p.m., so avoid walking through villages when this is taking place. Males and women are expected to dress appropriately for church on Sunday, with ladies wearing a dress or a blouse and skirt and men wearing pants and a shirt.
Samoans are modest people, thus it’s best to dress modestly when visiting communities (bikinis are fine at resorts). Swimming or sunbathing without a top is strictly prohibited, and while leaving the beach to visit the village, tourists are required to dress in lavalava (sarong) trousers or shorts and a t-shirt.
There are just a few laws that must be followed while entering fales (traditional dwellings), the most essential of which is that shoes must always be removed. In a fale, you should not rise up when the elders are seated inside. You should avoid pointing your feet at other people when you are seated on a chair. It is best to tuck them aside or cross them in order to protect yourself from the sun.
Other helpful things to know
- The majority of land and regions inside a lagoon (or bay) are owned by a village, a family, or a single individual. Always check with the nearby hamlet for permission before entering, as you may be required to pay a modest entrance charge. Even though it appears that no one is around, it is wise to be patient since someone will almost always appear quickly. Prior to shooting photographs in a village, ensure that you have permission from your host. If you are unsure of the proper etiquette to follow when it comes to Samoan traditions and methods of doing things, consult your host or a village member for guidance.
IMPORTANT DATES IN THE SAMOAN CALENDAR
Due to the fact that Samoa is a Christian society, all yearly religious occasions such as Christmas and Easter are observed as official public holidays. Many, if not all, Samoan companies will be closed on official holidays, so be sure to verify if any of these dates overlap with your planned trip.
Easter (Varies each year)
Families gather for a church service on Good Friday and Easter Sunday to commemorate the holiday season. As with any other important occasion, a large “to’anai” (feast) is prepared in advance for the entire family to enjoy together. Some religious denominations paint their churches in the colors of Easter, which include purple, crimson, and a lot of white.
Mother’s Day (2nd Sunday in May)
Every family celebrates Mother’s Day in a unique way, as they do in most nations, but there are some traditions that are universally observed. A special Mother’s Day aspect will always be included in the church service (Moms are encouraged to wear white on this day), her favorite food will be prepared as part of a feast, and – in theory – mothers should be able to rest while their husbands and children do all of the work.
Samoans commemorate the occasion of becoming the first South Pacific island to achieve independence on the first of June. Beginning in 1899, when the Germans and the Americans split up the archipelago between themselves, Samoa was ruled by the Germans. In 1918, New Zealand assumed administrative authority of the territory, which lasted until 1962, when Samoa gained independence. It goes without saying that this is an occasion that should be joyfully commemorated every year across the world with food, entertainment, and a party-like atmosphere.
Father’s Day (2nd Sunday in August)
Mother’s Day is a holiday that is similar to this.
The same customs apply, with the father of the house serving as the focal point of the festivities.
This yearly event was first held in 1991 and has since evolved to become one of the most well-known and anticipated events in Tonga’s calendar year, as well as one of the largest cultural festivals in all of the South Pacific. Locals adore it, and visitors who happen to be traveling at the same time as it are amazed by their good fortune. TraditionalSiva dance, fire knife dancing, tattooing and carving demonstrations, Umu demonstrations (underground Samoan oven cooking), the annualFlower Float Parade, the popularFautasi race (iconic Samoan boat racing), and the crowning of Miss Samoa are just a few of the highlights.
For those of you who are fortunate enough to be inSamoa on White Sunday, you are in for a real treat. Children are highly valued in Samoan culture, and today is dedicated to them. They may be eligible for gifts or privileges that are normally reserved for adults (like eating first). During church services, all women and children are required to dress in white, and they participate in special activities that include reenactments of biblical stories, recitations, and dance performances. It’s a breathtaking sight to behold.
Christmas Day (25th of December)
Samoa begins its Christmas celebrations 13 days before the actual day of the holiday. Christmas songs in various styles are performed by government ministries and other congregations throughout these 13 days, and the performances are shown on television. Every day leading up to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, there is a church service when people dress in white and the churches are decked up with red, green and white draperies with a sprinkling of flowers.
Public Holidays in Samoa
New Year’s Day is on the first of January. Friday the 13th Saturday, the Day of Atonement Easter Sunday is observed on April 1st. Easter Monday Anzac Day is observed on April 25th. Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. Father’s Day is celebrated on the Monday after the second Sunday in August. Arbor Day is celebrated on the first Friday in November. Christmas Day is celebrated on December 25th. Boxing Day is on December 26th.
Check out what events are coming up in Samoa.
First of January is New Year’s Day. Thank you for your support. Saturday, the Feast of the Lord Sunday, April 1st Easter Monday On April 25, we commemorate the centennial of the First World War. Observed on the second Sunday in May, Mother’s Day Sunday after the second Sunday in August is Father’s Day. November 1st is Arbor Day, which falls on the first Friday of the month. Observed as a public holiday on December 25, 26th December (Boxing Day) –
A distinguishing characteristic of Samoan culture and customs is the way in which everything is conceived in terms of family rather than individually, whether it is about earning money, sharing food, or even building a house. Samoans are deeply rooted in their culture and hold elders in their families with high regard. They have a complex social system that dates back thousands of years. The following are some features of Samoan culture:
- Faith, family, and music are important to me. A community way of life in which all activities are undertaken in groups is referred to as communal living. Houses without limits or barriers, as well as families that choose to remain together
- Having a chief who is in charge of the village’s affairs
- Despite the fact that food and money are allocated according to honor rankings and the requirements of each household, everyone has the same obligations. a system of rules and restrictions that are rigorous
Religion in the Samoan Islands The Samoan people place a high value on religion and believe that God created the country of Samoa. Even if the Christian faith has gained more adherents in recent years, earlier societies held beliefs that were diametrically opposed to Christianity.
Samoa is made up of a diverse range of ethnic groups, and there is a strong social pressure to engage in rites and celebrations. Currently, Samoan rites are centered on Christianity, which is practiced by nearly all of the population of the country.
Entertainment in Samoa
When it comes to the Samoan people, they have a lively, humorous, and happy-go-lucky temperament that goes well in hand with the gorgeous sceneries of the islands. Their kind of entertainment involves singing songs, dancing, and consuming delectable dishes, among other activities. The synchronized Sasa routine, the beautiful Siva dance, and the knife-fire dances are among the dances performed. Scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, and sea kayaking are some of the other recreational activities available.
Samoan Arts and Crafts
Samoan mats are renowned for their elaborately woven leaves, which takes an enormous amount of time to complete. These mats have inherited cultural significance and are never offered for sale. Designs that include natural items as the primary focus of the print have symbolic significance. Woodcarving is another component of Samoan crafts, with the kava bowls being the most well-known example. Tattooing is considered to be an art form by many Samoan people.
Samoa Islands Sports
In Samoa, rugby is the most widely practiced sport. Cricket and volleyball are two more popular sports. Samoa has produced a number of well-known sports figures. These sports are extremely popular in Samoa and are considered to be a part of the local way of life. If you are a fan of professional wrestling, you should be aware that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is from Samoa, as is Junior Seau, an American football star who played for the University of Southern California and the San Diego Chargers.
This video provides an insight of the Samoan culture and traditions, which you will encounter when you begin your new life in the country of your birth.
Call us at 800-599-0190 to schedule a free consultation with Rachel, our Samoa International Shipping Schumacher Cargo specialist, or visit our website to obtain a free overseas moving quotation and learn more about international moving to Samoa.
Samoa – Cultural life
As a result, while some Samoan values and customs have changed dramatically since European contact, particularly inApia, Samoans have worked hard to preserve the “Samoan way of life,” as evidenced by the fact that many traditional practices and outward characteristics of rural life have remained virtually unchanged.
The majority of Samoan communities are equipped with a church and a meetinghouse, which also serves as a cultural center. There are severalfale, which are typical oval-shaped dwellings with open sides and thatched or corrugated tin roofs supported by wooden pillars, arranged in a circle around the village green. For added protection from the weather, rolled palm-leaf mats can be hung on each side of each house’s entrance door. There are manyfale that have been replaced with rectangular dwellings made of wood or concrete blocks with walls and windows.
Taro, yams, breadfruit, salmon, and shellfish are examples of typical foods that are either cultivated or harvested locally.
Imported commodities, such as Asian rice, frozen meats, and packaged meals and drinks from various regions of the world, have become increasingly popular in recent years.
A number of related practices include sitting cross-legged in a house before addressing one’s host and abstaining from eating when standing indoors or strolling outside.
In Samoa, art traditions like as music, dancing, tattooing, and oral literature are all important. Males visit a localtufuga (tattoo artist) when they are 12 or 13 years old to get their tattoos done from waist to knee, a lengthy and often painful process that is considered a rite of passage. Although many Polynesian islands were wiped off the map by Christian missionaries who believed tattooing was in violation of biblical teachings in 18th century, the practice survived and was revived among Tahitians and other communities in the late twentieth century thanks to the efforts of Samoans.
- Music has long played an important role in Samoan culture.
- Dances that are frequently performed for visitors include s (a seated dance conducted mostly via arm motions) andfa’ataupati (a dance produced primarily through foot movements) (in which men rhythmically slap their limbs and torsos).
- Thepese is another another famous music style to listen to.
- It is still required of matai to present rhythmic, poetical orations during council sessions, as well as at other big events, based on the tales, chants, and spells that have been passed down and refined over the decades.
- Some Samoan writers, such as Albert Wendt, have received international acclaim for their works.
There are just a few notable cultural institutions in Samoa, aside from the School of Agriculture and Avele College, as well as the National University of Samoa. Apia is home to the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum (1990) and the Nelson Memorial Public Library (1959), both of which were built in the 1960s.
Sports and recreation
Independence Day (which is traditionally celebrated for three days, from June 1–3), Christmas, and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are the most important celebrations. In spite of the fact that Samoan music and dancing techniques continue to be popular, radio stations frequently play imported Hawaiian and other Polynesian music, as well as rock and pop music. Films from the United States and China, the latter with English subtitles, are often seen. Rugby football is a popular sport among Samoans, who have for many years represented the New Zealand and Samoan national teams in the sport of rugby.
The sport of kirikiti, which is similar to cricket but involves teams of any size, is played by whole villages on occasion.
Outrigger canoes have been utilized by Samoans and other Polynesians since they first arrived on the islands and established their first towns.
In addition to footracing and cockfighting, traditional Samoan sports such as tiak (darts) and spear throwing are practiced. Tennis, golf, bowling, and other sports events are held for a select group of people. Since 1984, Samoa has participated in the Olympic Games in various sports.
Media and publishing
The Samoa Observer, theSamoa News, Savali, and theSamoa Weekly are among the country’s newspapers, each of which has a restricted readership ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand copies every issue. Samoa has three radio stations, each broadcasting in English. Beginning in 1993, the country’s first full-time television broadcaster began delivering locally produced programming in addition to satellite transmissions from other countries. If you want to read more about Samoan cultural life, check out Oceanic arts and Polynesian culture.
All You Need To Know About Samoa – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly – Craving Adventure
A paradise where piglets run free, where everyone grins and waves as you pass by, and where island time is the sole time zone. It is a nation that is filled with the most hospitable people, beautiful palm tree-lined beaches, and breathtaking natural beauty. At first appearance, Samoa appears to be a veritable tropical haven. However, Samoa is also a country where conservative tribes wield considerable authority, where the church demands large portions of the population’s revenue, and where there is a severe stray dog issue.
Where is Samoa?
As an autonomous country, Samoa is located south-central Pacific Ocean in the western section of Polynesia, just west of American Samoa and north-east of Fiji, or approximately half way between New Zealand and Hawaii. It takes 4 hours to fly from Auckland, New Zealand and 5.5 hours to fly from Sydney, Australia to get to Samoa from either of these cities. With two major islands and numerous smaller islands, Samoa’s archipelago covers a total land area of 2842 square kilometers, with a total land area of 2842 square kilometers.
The island of Upolu contains the capital city of Apia as well as the majority of the inhabitants.
The other large island is named Savai’i, and while it is larger than Upolu, it has a far lower population than Upolu.
Savai’i is commonly referred to as “the true Samoa” by Samoans.
Samoan culture is derived from Polynesian traditions and is founded on the concept of Fa’a Samoa, which translates as “The Samoan Way.” The culture of Samoa is largely centered on the importance of family, community, and religion. Samoans have a strong sense of belonging and belonging is highly important to them. In addition to donating to the church, their number one responsibility is caring for and providing for their extended family or tribe of people. Samoans are a religious people. Samoans are likewise extremely self-assured individuals.
- When you explore outside of the more crowded places, you’ll find the people to be quite kind and humorous, especially in the evenings.
- Fiafia is a Greek word that meaning “gathering” or “festivity,” and that is precisely what it is.
- Food plays an important role in almost all civilizations, and Samoa is no exception to this rule.
- This means that everyone gathers with the family and sits around large tables to eat a home-cooked feast, which frequently includes at least some fish, taro (a root vegetable that looks similar to a potato), and dishes made with coconut cream.
- The umu is the Samoan variant of the famed Polynesian ground oven, which is also known as the utu.
- Fale is also the term for ‘house’ in other languages.
- Although sleeping in a fale may seem primitive, there is nothing quite like waking up to the peaceful sound of the waves washing onto the beach with a gentle wind blowing through your hair, followed by a refreshing swim in the warm sea that is only five steps from from your bedroom.
- Tattooing is traditionally seen as a status symbol and a rite of passage from adolescent to adulthood, and it is performed with wooden implements rather than a tattoo gun.
The tattoo, also known as a Tatau, must be earned. The most honorable tattoo for males is calledPe’a, and it covers the area from the waist to the knees, making it the most visible tattoo. ‘Malu’ is the name of the feminine version of it, which covers the thighs.
First and foremost, when we think of what is good about Samoa, we think of its people. They are the heart and soul of the country. Samoans, like the majority of Polynesians, are large people, not just in stature but also in the size of their hearts, according to the World Health Organization. It is customary for the Samoan people to give you a kind wave as you walk by, to provide assistance to those who are in need, to generously share their food with you, even if they have little, and to not be startled if you are asked into their home.
The beauty of Samoa
Samoa is a genuinely pure piece of nature, brimming with jaw-dropping landscapes that are still mostly unknown to the general public due to its isolation. Consider what it would be like to stare out of an airplane window and see curving coastlines that transition from pristine golden sand beaches to jagged volcanic cliffs and then back to beaches again. This is only a little taste of what it’s like to live in Samoa on a daily basis. You may have seen photographs of the To Sua Ocean Trench, which is one of the coolest and most unusual swimming holes on the planet, but this is only one of the many amazing things to include on your Samoa itinerary if you have the opportunity.
Alternatively, how about taking in the views of half of Samoa from the summit of an active volcano and exploring the subterranean lava tunnels that run underneath it?
The life filled waters of Samoa
You can also go hiking through luscious green and jungle-covered hills, which will take your breath away when you come across a massive waterfall cascading down the mountainside. Swim with wild sea turtles in crystal clear, warm turquoise water that is also teeming with other marine life that has made its home in the vibrant coral reefs that line the coast’s edge. Unlike other imaginary worlds, this one exists in Samoa and may be experienced firsthand. Bring your snorkeling equipment, as the underwater world of Samoa may be even more impressive than the land-based world of the island.
Alternatively, if you are concerned about losing a foot or a finger to a giant clam that snaps shut as you swim by, perhaps spending the day on a private island would be a better option.
They are widely regarded as the world’s best snorkeling locations, with sea turtles and exotic tropical fish among their many attractions.
And if you’re a surfer, don’t forget to bring your board with you because the south coast is known for having some epic waves.
So far, everything we’ve told you has been positive, correct? Being a resident of Samoa may sound like a dream come true, however, in order to be fair to the rest of the world, there are certain aspects about Samoa that aren’t so wonderful. Until 2014, Samoa was considered an undeveloped country, which means that the country has only just begun to progress in the direction of the technological and economic norms that we are accustomed to in the Western world.
One of the places where this is most obvious is in the poor mobile internet reception available in the region. Samoa does have a 4G network, however coverage is poor and reception is limited outside of the city, Apia, resulting in sluggish internet speeds or no connection at all outside of the capital. Wi-Fi is frequently available in the more costly lodgings, however it is not always provided at no cost, and the data bundles that are provided are often insufficient.
Food is monotone
Of course, taste is subjective, and we did had several delectable meals as well, but let us to explain why we are continuing to rate the food as a negative. As previously said, Samoans are a highly traditional people, and this is reflected in their cuisine as well as their culture. They use fish, taro (a root vegetable that looks similar to a potato), and coconut milk as the primary components in all of their meals. However, after a few days of eating taro and meals made with coconut milk, you’ll be craving something else, and unfortunately, there isn’t much else to select from save fried chicken and rice in the area.
Extreme island time
Finally, in Samoa, nothing happens on schedule. Island time is a genuine phenomenon in the Pacific, and it appears that the Samoans have entirely submitted to it in their daily lives. If you’re simply there to relax and enjoy yourself, this won’t be a problem and may even contribute to the relaxed atmosphere, but if you’re there to get some work done, it may be a real pain. Imagine attempting to get to the airport by bus only to discover that the bus driver is unconcerned with the official bus timetable and hence arrives 45 minutes late and then makes a lengthy detour.
It’s impossible to observe much of what is going on beneath the surface of a nation when you are only there for a short length of time. This is typically a positive thing since it allows you to maintain your cheerful vacation state of mind longer. We were in Samoa for a long enough period of time to discover some of the country’s less desirable characteristics as well. While we are not attempting to break your pleasant holiday bubble, we believe that it is necessary to bring these issues to your attention so that you have a better grasp of what is going on in the country.
It is highly vital in Samoan culture for tribes to exist, and tribal leaders have a great deal of authority over their people and have the ability to make a lot of crucial choices that affect them and their towns. Despite the fact that this does not apply to every chief, their pride and sometimes strict traditional beliefs limit their view to only what is beneficial to them in the near term. What is beneficial for the rest of the country or what will benefit the future is seldom taken into consideration, resulting in significant deforestation, depletion of the land, overfishing, and the loss of reefs and lagoons in the process.
Though this is a good excuse to spend some time at home, violating curfew results in substantial fines that most individuals cannot afford on their own, necessitating a collective effort from everyone in the household to pay them.
Those who are unable to pay the fee, even with the assistance of their families, may be exiled from the community, bringing shame upon their whole family.
Samoa is a religiously conservative country, with Christians constituting 98 percent of the population. Sunday is a sacred day, and on this day, everyone dressed in their Sunday best and attends church, but the church’s impact extends far beyond than that of the individual. Aside from intense social pressure to attend church services, in certain villages, the chiefs compel their subjects to be members of the church, threatening them with fines or even expulsion if they do not comply. It will astonish you how many churches you will see as you go around Samoa on a car or on foot.
The members of the church contribute to the construction and upkeep of these churches, as well as the compensation of the pastor and the funding of church initiatives.
Dogs in Samoa
Isn’t it adorable how it sounds? The fact that there are a lot of dogs in Samoa didn’t surprise us because we are major dog lovers. However, the dogs here are not the cuddly sort of furry buddies that you might be hoping to discover in other parts of the world. Dogs are not considered or treated as pets by the majority of the population in Samoa. The vast majority of the dogs are stray dogs which are quite territorial and may become quite aggressive at times. They normally come out at night and wander in packs, so if you are out after dark, especially in more rural regions, be on the lookout for these creatures.
Measles outbreak in Samoa
A large measles outbreak gripped Samoa at the time of our visit, which took place towards the end of 2019. Because of conservative beliefs and politics, as well as an accident that resulted in the deaths of some babies after a vaccine was administered incorrectly, a large portion of the population had lost trust in vaccinations, resulting in many children not being vaccinated against measles and other diseases. Despite the fact that the pandemic was in full swing, a state of emergency had been proclaimed, and the government had ordered people to get vaccinated, some people continued to refuse to obtain a vaccination.
Even though the Pacific Islands have a reputation for being pricey, Samoa didn’t break our bank account and is absolutely possible on a tight budget. Obviously, their costs cannot compete with those in South-East Asia, but Samoa is still less costly than Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Western Europe, making it a viable option for everyone, not just the wealthy. When it comes to accommodations in Samoa, you can choose from a variety of options ranging from open-air beach shacks (fales) that include breakfast and supper to luxurious resorts with spas and boardwalks leading to over-the-water villas.
In Samoa, the term for these beach huts is fales, and staying in one of them is an unforgettable and genuinely Samoan experience.
A beer costs between 5-7 tala, while soft beverages cost between 2.5 and 3.5 tala. The expense of western cuisine and barista coffee is higher. Continue reading:Where to stay in Samoa – The greatest places to stay in Samoa
What language is spoken in Samoa?
Official languages of Samoa are English and the indigenous language, Samoan. While the majority of educated individuals and those working in customer service roles are proficient in English, this is not always the case in the smaller towns and villages.
Is Samoa safe to visit?
Samoa is a very safe country with a low incidence of crime. Generally speaking, the people of Samoa are quite polite and helpful, and the country’s strong traditions and community culture help to keep crime rates low and the country safe.
What is the best time of year to go to Samoa?
Samoa has two different seasons: the dry season and the wet season. If you wish to visit Samoa during the dry season, which runs from May to mid-November, the best time to go is during the months of July and September. In the dry season, the ideal time to visit is at the beginning (from May to mid-June) or the end (from October to mid-November).
How many days do you need in Samoa?
To see both islands in Samoa, you’ll need between 7 and 10 days. This will provide you with adequate time to see the main sights as well as spend some time on the beach if you so want. Following that, you may read about the finest Samoa itinerary – 10 days in paradise.
Does it get cold in Samoa?
In Samoa, it is rare for it to be particularly chilly. Samoa has a tropical climate, which means it is hot and humid all of the time.
Does Samoa have Internet?
Samoa does have internet access, however it is often sluggish and costly due to the island’s isolation. Additionally, mobile service and data connection to the internet are extremely spotty.
Is Samoan food spicy?
No, the cuisine in Samoa is not hot.
Is Samoa worth it?
That is absolutely true! We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our time in Samoa and would return in a heartbeat. Samoa is a beautiful jewel of the Pacific, and it’s a great place to visit if you’re looking for a unique, tropical vacation. We are confident that if you choose to visit Samoa, it will quickly become one of your favorite travel destinations!
Have you been to Samoa? Would you like to go? Drop your questions and thoughts in the comments bellow!
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Culture & Customs
Samoa is home to a 3,000-year-old tradition known as Fa’a Samoa, which translates as ‘The Samoan Way,’ which is unique to the country. It is a custom that dates back hundreds of years and is the most authentic expression of Polynesian culture. In the context of family (aiga), elders and chiefs (matais), village, church, country, and the environment, Fa’a Samoa serves as a guide for all Samoans in terms of their behavior and attitude. Matais, sometimes known as ‘chiefs’ in the western world, play an important role in Samoan culture, frequently overseeing everything from family concerns to civic and political responsibilities in their own communities.
It is crucial for visitors to respect and observe procedure while entering villages and family homes, as well as when using and accessing village resources, because the culture of Fa’a Samoa places a significant emphasis on greeting guests.
- Walking across communities during the evening prayer curfew is discouraged (usually between 6pm and 7pm). This normally lasts 1 to 2 minutes and is signaled by the ringing of a bell or the blowing of a conch shell at the beginning and finish. Sunday should be respected. The fact that numerous tourist sites are open on Sunday does not negate the expectation that visitors will behave quietly and move gently through communities. In communities, wearing skimpy attire is not advised since it will be taken as a sign of disrespect. A lavalava (sarong) is preferred for women rather of shorts or slacks, especially if they are attending church. Prior to shooting photographs in a village, ensure that you have permission from your host. Don’t give money to youngsters, even if they ask for it. If you have any questions, ask your host or a member of the community.