Intergenerational celebration scheduled for July 25 through 31
By Lynn Castle for Asia Pacific Cultural Center
Photo Courtesy of Asia Pacific Cultural Center
Traditionally, July marks the month when Asia Pacific Cultural Center celebrates the heritage of the Samoan people. This year’s weeklong celebration will draw on some old traditions and some new ones using in-person events that will be broadcast on APCC’s Facebook page.
Beginning on Sunday, July 25, the 11th Annual Samoa Cultural Week’s theme is Tatou Galulue Faatasi—Let’s Work Together—which will continue throughout the week and conclude on Saturday, July 31. The week will be filled with presentations on Samoan culture and include topics on spiritual guidance, self-improvement, Samoan entertainment and fashion and, of course, food.
When asked about the importance of Samoan Cultural Week, High Chief Leota passionately spoke about the strength of family. “We start with family first,” he said. “By bringing together all the youth to teach the same way of life, the Samoan way of life, they learn to respect each other, honor their parents, and make their education a priority,” HC Leota added.
One session during the week, led by local Samoan leader Lydia Faitalia, is focused on empowering youth. With University of Washington student participants, Faitalia will facilitate conversations to educate people about the varied and plentiful academic resources available to students. The session is designed to enrich the lives of the youth and promote a broad education platform.
Enriching the lives of their Samoan community is vital for many in local leadership roles. According to Faitalia, “In many ways, this Samoan Cultural Celebration is a gathering of our village. It is an intergenerational celebration used as teaching moments for our elders to hand down cultural values to our next generation.”
The building blocks of the Samoan culture is spirituality and a deep belief in God. “Our culture reminds us to be good human beings, and it helps us make connections to other cultures. It is healing, and it is renewing,” added Faitalia.
Samoa is a group of islands, located about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand just south of the equator, with two political systems. American Samoa is under the political arm of the United States, while there is the independent nation of Samoa with a Commonwealth membership that is made up of the two larger Samoan islands.
“Back home in Samoa, celebrations are expected,” said Isaia Vimoto, another local Samoan leader, when asked about the importance of the annual Samoan celebration. “Now that we are away from our Mother Land, it helps us maintain our culture, and it brings our people together.” And then he added, “It is especially important for those born outside of the islands to make that connection when our community is brought together.”
The week of events is open to the entire community, not just Samoans. It allows people of all backgrounds to learn what Samoans are about and understand what their culture brings to the community. The expansion of events to span across an entire week provides even more accessibility and shows how the various cultures and generations can continue to work together.
All events can be attended in person or watched on APCC’s Facebook Live page, except Tuesday’s presentation, which is virtual only. Fun door prizes will be awarded throughout the week.
To learn more about the lineup of events and presentations featured during the 11th Annual Samoa Cultural Week - Tatou Galulue Faatasi, please visit the APCC Facebook Page at Facebook.com/AsiaPacificCulturalCenter.
Asia Pacific Cultural Center is a not-for-profit formed in 1996 with the mission to bridge communities and generations through art, culture, education and business. It serves as an interactive cultural crossroads between local and international communities. For more information about APCC, visit their website at APCC96.org.
“Let’s Work Together.” - Tatou Galulue Faatasi