The culture of Samoa is based on a way of life called “Fa’a Samoa” which means that in Samoan culture all the activities are done together with others. The three main parts that compose the Samoan culture are: faith, family and music. The traditional home of Samoans is called “fale” and they contain no walls. Here can sleep up to twenty people on the ground in the same fale and during the day people use it to chat or relax.
Family is perceived to be one’s integral part of his life. All the family members live together and help each other. The elders from the family are very respected and hold the highest status in the house. This can be seen best on Sundays, during the “umu” (underground oven).
Families share an umu together as their afternoon meal. Umu is an abundance of dishes which ranges from pig, fresh seaweed and crayfish to rice and baked taro. Other types of food in Samoa include coconut which can be used to prepare dishes such as “palusami”.
In the Samoan culture women play an important role as they contribute with their skills in items that have a very important cultural value such as “ie toga” which represent finely woven mats that are used in ceremonies or gift exchanges.
Samoans also have a lot of ceremonies and “ava” is one of them. This is the most significant ritual which takes place during most of the important occasions and this includes the moment when the “matai” chief titles are bestowed to new chiefs. The ceremony has a very specific ritual which consists of chanting different phrases and doing certain gestures.
Samoa has a very rich culture which can be fully experienced by going to see the place yourself. You will be amazed by the beautiful surroundings and the hospitability of the locals.
The ‘ava ceremony is the most significant ritual which takes place during all important occasions, including the bestowal of matai chiefly titles. The overall ceremony is highly ritualized, with specific gestures and phrases to be used at various times. Ceremonial items for the ‘ava ceremony include the tanoa (round wooden bowl) similar to those used in the kava cultures of other Polynesian societies. The tanoa are made of varying sizes supported by many short legs around it. These bowls and other related instruments are often highly decorated. Known as kava in other parts of Polynesia, the ‘ava is a beverage produced from a plant that is drunk throughout the western Pacific region. The drinking of ʻava in Samoa is generally done through highly ritualized ʻava ceremonies. The kava is prepared by a group of people called aumaga. It is brought to each participant by the tautuaʻava, or ʻava server, in the order proscribed by the tufaʻava, or ʻava distributor. Usually, the highest chief of the visiting party is served first, followed by the highest chief of the host party, and then service proceeds based on the rank of the rest of the participants. The drink is served in a polished coconut half.