Samoa officially the Independent State of Samoa formerly known as Western Samoa, is a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. The two main islands of Samoa are Upolu and one of the biggest islands in Polynesia, Savai’i.Apia is the capital city of Samoa.
Christmas Celebrations in Samoa :
Christmas in Samoa is a fun and exciting time of the year for Samoans. Planning for the actual day can begin months in advance, especially as there is a thirteen-day build-up to Christmas day in an annual event called “13 Days to Christmas”. This comprises of dozens of local choirs performing Christmas carols and short dramas in the beautiful Upolu village of Vaitele-Uta. Dressed in white and differentiated only by the stripes of their church colors, the choirs perform a unique brand of Pacific-style Christmas carols. Choirs hail from all denominations with even the Samoan Police Band participating regularly each year. No one can fail to be inspired by the music, especially with the majestic sunsets that accompany the choirs each night. Many houses are festooned by this time with tinsel, colored paper, Christmas messages and floral decorations. Music filters the air everywhere – Christian, rap, pop, rock – all seem to have a Christmas theme.
December is one of the hottest times of the year for Samoa. Apia, at Christmas time is a party-town. Nightclubs and bars provide a welcome respite from the day’s shopping for many travellers. Others however may prefer a loud game of suipi (card game) at home with visiting relatives over a bottle of Vailima.
Even in remote rural areas of Upolu and Savaii, there is a festive mood. Christmas in Samoa is about togetherness and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Church activities play a prominent role in the festivities with many children proudly performing in dramas about the nativity story. Children are cherished members of Samoan families and most are rewarded with gifts from their families for achievements throughout the year. Although giving gifts at Christmas time was a concept introduced by Palagi, Samoans have adopted this custom with relish. Children even reciprocate their parents’ gifts by preparing food for them.
Christmas then must surely be a lucrative time for many ministers as increased attendance at church means increased donations. On Christmas morning, thousands of umu-fires burn all over Samoa as they do everyday, only this time, the food cooking will be more plentiful and varied. Special culinary dishes will have been prepared especially for this day. Christmas day begins with church and a sense of renewal takes place as everyone remembers the miracle of Christ’s birth. Afterwards, food, presents, some noisy games of kilikiti or volleyball or a leisurely nap are typical Christmas day favourites for Samoans
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Reverend Taumafai Komiti, Methodist Church of Matafele, said, “The lights we turn on tonight symbolize the light He gives to the world. We celebrate His birth, and we remember that we must be ready to spread that light as we reach out and lend a helping hand to all.”
MP Fuimaono Samuelu Te’o Atiifale spoke about previous Christmas celebrations in Samoa. This is the second year that Christmas lights and activities have been enjoyed around the grounds of the government building.
He said, “Last year my family sang here and it added to our feelings of joy at Christmas time.”
Elder Haleck thanked the organizing committee and sponsors of the event for all the work they did to give this gift to the community.
“The lights we are going to turn on can never compare to the light of Christ, whose birth and life we celebrate,” he said.
He then pressed the switch that turned on thousands of twinkling lights covering the stage and the trees of the centre to the delight of the audience.
Wishing all readers Merry Christmas 2020 & Happy New Year 2021 !!!