Thursday, August 14, 2008

Family at the Festival

The Festival is over and it's back to the typical slow, uneventful Samoan days but we have our memories and about 1000 more pictures!

Arts Festival Dancing

Solomon Islands


Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea

Cook Islands

Papua New Guinea
New Zealand

Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Samoan Umu at the Festival

I think the best part of any culture is the food. Everyday at the Arts Festival a different island had food demonstrations. Samoa just happened to be the only one we caught on camera. So here is how traditional umu is played out, as interpreted by a palagi.

Step one: The preparation
Heat the rocks, peel the taro and breadfruit, make the coconut cream, make the palusami (taro leaves, coconut cream), oh yes, the pig...kill it, clean out the insides, burn the hair off. Don't forget the fish, octopus, crab, lobster whatever else was found in the ocean that morning. Add coconut cream to everything (almost)....

Step 2: Cook
Remove all rocks from the fire with coconut frond tongs, throw all of the above into the fire, cover with hot rocks, then banana leaves. Leave to check your head for any remaining hair.

Step 3: Uncover and enjoy!
Remove all leaves, rock and food. Eat!

It's very good that Samoan families are so big, it'd take a week for one person to do all this. It took about 15-20 people to do this in 4 hours. This is something that is done by many families here every Sunday.

Samoan Umu

Friday, August 1, 2008

10th Festival of the Pacific Arts

Every 4 years a participating Pacific island hosts one of the most amazing events I've ever had the priveledge of attending. American Samoa just so happened to be that host this year. Lucky us! It's a gathering of culture and tradition from all over the the world's largest ocean! 26 Pacific island nations were represented. (Can you name 3?.... I couldn't before I moved here either) Now, not only do I know most of them, I've seen them dance, I know what the eat, how they dress, and what they sell to gullible tourists. Who knew the Pacific was so diverse?

This part in the blog series is the Festival Village, where all the islands had a fale (Samoan house) to give demonstrations and information on their culture and traditions.
There was everything from New Zealand tattooing, Solomon Island and basketweaving and wood carving,
Aboriginal basketweaving,
poi making in Hawaii, weapon making in Tonga,
to the bamboo band from Taiwan. A lot of the villagers had dancing in the middle of the village as well. Pictured here are some of the people of Papua New Guinea.
The cultural experience was phenomenal. Shopping was pretty good too.