The Lapita people discovered and settled the Samoan Islands around 3,500 years ago. They developed a unique Samoan language and Samoan cultural identity. The fa’a Samoa, or traditional Samoan way, remains a strong force in Samoan life and politics. Despite centuries of European influence, Samoa maintains its historical customs, social and political systems, and language. The main island of Upolu is home to nearly three-quarters of Samoa’s population, and to the capital city, Apia.
Sunday 9 May
- Mother’s Day
(Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bonaire, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Dem. Rep., Congo, Rep., Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Gabon, Gambia, Greenland, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Myanmar, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Singapore, Sint Maarten, Slovakia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay, Vietnam, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe)
Currently 98% of the population identify themselves as Christian. Some Samoans live a communal way of life, participating in activities collectively.
Cultural customs such as the Samoa ’ava ceremony are significant and solemn rituals at important occasions including the bestowal of matai chiefly titles. Items of great cultural value include the finely woven ’ie toga.
Some Samoans are spiritual and religious, and have subtly adapted the dominant religion of Christianity to ’fit in’ with fa’a Samoa and vice versa.
The Samoan culture is centred around the principle of vāfealoa’i, the relationships between people. These relationships are based on respect, or fa’aaloalo.