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Samoan communities worldwide mark White Sunday — celebrations begin!

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The annual White Sunday celebration, coupled with the Monday federal and local holiday (Discoverers’ Day), adds up to a three-day weekend — and it has been a busy one at that — as residents geared up for the day dedicated to the children of American Samoa.

White Sunday is celebrated every year on the second Sunday in October. And after a few years of smaller celebrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, children and adults alike are looking forward to a huge celebration this year.

Gov. Lemanu P.S. Mauga said in his White Sunday message, “Throughout the Holy Scripture we are reminded that children are a gift and a blessing from God. As any parent knows, raising a child can be the most difficult of tasks yet is the most rewarding and the most fulfilling.  Our children bring a whole new kind of love into our lives, and despite the uncertainties, life would be unimaginable with them.”

White Sunday was introduced in the islands by Christian missionaries in the 1800s and has became a special holiday, with children being treated to the best — from new outfits to their favorite food during family toana'i.

“As we celebrate Lotu Tamaiti, let us be reminded that the examples we set for our children are the greatest gifts we can bestow on them. Let us recommit ourselves to being more intentional in how we nurture, guide and encourage our children.  Let us find new ways of providing a nourishing upbringing that sparks their emotions, mental, physical and spiritural development. We comment all who are committed to creating a better future for our children,” the governor concluded and on behalf of the Lt. Governor and their families he wished all the children of American Samoa both here and abroad and happy and safe Lotu Tamaiti.

Congresswoman Uifaatele Amata reminded in her Aso So Pa’epa’e message, “We are a people of faith and because of thais heritage including White Sunday, our youth will carry on this same emphasis throughout their lives and with their children (Proverbs 22:6). On this day we celebrate with the children of our beautiful islands, who are a gift to us from the Lord (Psalm 127:3), and grandchildren are a crown to the aged (Proverbs 17:6).  On this White Sunday we rejoyed in all we share, the bright futures of all our children, and the meaning of our faith.  God bless American Samoa and our families and children this wonderful Sunday.  As we take part with our churches and celebrate, we are thankful for the deep meaning and faith in our Samoan way.”

Tonga , Samoa, New Zealand, and Australia — on the other side of the International Dateline — celebrated White Sunday yesterday and today in other parts of the world with Samoan communities, such as Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fort Hood (Texas) White Sunday celebrations are in full swin. 

On Monday, a federal holiday, the local government will be closed, along with the majority of businesses in the territory, including the Territorial Bank of American Samoa (TBAS) and the U.S. Post Office.

In honor of White Sunday and Discoverers’ Day, Samoa News will not publish on Monday but will return Tuesday.

Have a happy and safe “Lotu Tamaiti” American Samoa.