All Samoans live in their extended, multigenerational family. No one is left alone. No one lives alone in a house or a flat.
The strong community ties give stability, a specific identity for each individual. Each person has a well-defined position in the hierarchy of the community. There is little space left for individualism, egoism.
Western-type consumption has powerfully penetrated, but the Samoans managed to protect their traditional cultural values and civilization. They selectively absorbed foreign influences.
More than three-quarters of the population still live in the countryside, in the villages of both main islands. All villages have electricity, water supply, and at least one small convenience store.
More than half of the population is under 20 years of age. Only 6% are of retirement age, over 65 years old. The population growth is staggering - more than 2.5%/ year. Contraception and birth control are not widely used, despite intensive official propaganda. Five to six children are still the average for a woman, and the infant mortality rate is relatively low.
Kids over 5-6 years of age have to participate in the tasks of the household. Over 14, children get more serious tasks within the division of domestic labor.
In the village communities, each adult has a rigorously defined position, status.
“Samoans of both sexes pay a lot of attention to the purity of the body. In this regard, they could compete with any cleanliness-obsessed European. The chivalrous Samoan man allows the woman (his wife) to do only the easier housework, thus preserving her physical integrity. However, by winning the heart and grace of his wife, he has not yet won final rights over her. The offended, sleepy, tired diva (wife) needs to enjoy an endless string of conquests.
Compared to the number of adults in Samoa, there are a striking number of children. Half of the population is under 15 years old. Young people need to learn the main guidelines of Samoan life at an early age, for instance, to respect to the rules made among the ainga (the extended family), the matai (the bosses of these families), the pules (the leaders of each settlement), or indeed the wider community.
The inhabitants of Samoa are very religious. Half of the population is Congregationalist, a quarter Catholic, 12% Methodist, the rest are mostly Mormons, and Upolun even has believers in the unique Bahai religion.
Despite the inroads of the churches, many Samoans still secretly keep records of their aitui (totem), which can be a fish, a bird, or any other animal revered as a saint. The beginnings of a temple ceremony or evening devotion, called the Sa, are announced in Samoa with gong beats. The stranger (Palangi), if he then gets lost in a settlement, must stop and wait for the end of the daily prayer with a quiet setting, the end of which is also signaled by gong beats. One of their customs is to wear the most beautiful lavalava (a scarf worn by both sexes) for masses or ceremonies, which is returned to the place of honor in the family cloakroom at the end of the ceremony.
Oceania -Samoa - Western Samoa - teen girls - Elter photo
Samoa - Western Samoa - Samoan smile - Elter photo
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