You may have noticed that over the years I like to share the different Pacific Islands’ cultural events that take place, well, anywhere in the world. Many of these take place in the Australia, New Zealand and the USA and usually span over a day or two. However, when one of the Pacific Islands nations has a festival, they really have a festival! They don’t just take place for one day, or a weekend. On the contrary, a true festival in this part of the world can be a week long (or longer) celebration that showcases and shares their unique cultural pride, values and helps communities reunite and reinforce their national identity. A perfect example of this could be seen at festivals such as the Merrie Monarch Festival in Honolulu, Hawaii and the Hibiscus Festival in Suva, Fiji.
Today, I would like to share some information regarding the upcoming Teuila Festival that will take place in Apia, Samoa, from September 4-10, 2016. Since it was established in 1991, Samoa’s Teuila Festival has grown to become one of Samoa’s most celebrated annual events, and one of the Pacific Islands’ biggest cultural festivals. 2016 marks the 26th Annual Teuila Festival.
Some of the highlights for this year’s events include:
Choral Exhibition where melodies of Samoan and English hymns are performed by choirs representing the country’s major denominations.
Cultural Show & Teuila International Siva Ailao Afi Competition (Fire Knife Dance) where performers equipped with a metal ornament with flaming towels at each end wow the crowd with their twirling prowess and speed while doing other acrobatic stunts.
Cultural Siva (Dance) Competition as village and church groups compete for the Teuila title. Always popular are the graceful dance performed by the women where the dancer tells a story with her hands, and the fast actions of the fa’ataupati or slap dance which is performed by the men.
Musika Extravaganza where local bands and artists entertain the crowds.
Miss Samoa Pageant where one will be crowned to represent Samoa at the next Miss Pacific Islands Pageant.
Samoa Cultural Village Tour where demonstrations of the ‘umu’ (Samoan ground oven), weaving, tattooing and much more will take place throughout the week.
SIFA Fautasi Challenge which is a Samoan long boat, race. Watch as villages compete for top-honors. The fautasi were used in the past for inter-island transport.
Carving Competition where master artisans create beautiful pieces of art out of nature.
And don’t forget the food! What’s a festival without food?
You can view entertainment from previous Teuila Festivals on Youtube. But, don’t forget to check the site often to watch events from this year’s festival. If you get a chance to attend in person, fantastic. You will be thoroughly entertained!