American Samoa is preparing for an extra special Easter weekend this year. Easter Sunday will be followed by the country’s Flag Day on Monday, Apr. 17 when residents will celebrate 117 years since the territory became part of the United States territories.
American Samoa’s Governor, Lolo Matalasi Molina, said in his Easter message, “America Samoa attests to proclaiming the work of Jesus’ salvation as living testimonies seen in our cultural practices of family and religion.” He added, “The territory’s 2017 Flag Day celebration is when we as a country celebrate His resurrection and 117 years of God’s bounteous blessings and grace on our islands.”
American Samoa’s Bishop Peter Brown (who is the leader of the Diocese of Samoa in Pago Pago) also gave an Easter message and said, “I pray this Easter will bring American Samoa true peace and unity especially as we prepare for our Flag Day. May your home be filed with peace, love and happiness.”
The official Flag Day ceremony will take place on Monday at the Veterans Memorial Stadium. This year’s theme will pay tribute to the territory’s youth, “Tupulaga mo a Taeao” (or Youth for Tomorrow). The opening ceremony will be followed by a day full of cultural performances with traditional oration, song and dance.
A little bit about the American Samoan flag…
Samoa never used any kinds of flags to represent their nation until the first Europeans set foot on the islands. Due to the contest of Germany, the UK and the USA over the islands, the islands were divided between them in 1899 and the borders were agreed at the Tripartite Convention. The United States took control over eastern half of Samoa and the American flag was raised in American Samoa on April 27, 1900 and it was considered as its official flag till 1960.
In 1960, the American Samoans adopted a new flag that is still in use today. The flag consists of a red-edged white triangle, dark blue upper and lower triangles and a bald eagle clutching a war club and fly-whisk.
The flag of American Samoa carries numerous symbols. Blue, white and red represent the colors, traditionally utilized by both the USA and Samoa. The bald eagle also represents the USA, although this bird doesn’t live in American Samoa. War club represents the government’s power and a fly-whist represents the wisdom of traditional Samoan leaders.
Happy Easter to everyone and Happy Flag Day 2017 to all our readers in American Samoa and around the world!