Friday, December 18, 2009

Church Dedication, Salelologa


Ceremony is very important in Samoa and one of the most important is the dedication of a new church. I have been watching the construction of the Catholic Church in the neighboring village of Salelologa over the past year. The Catholic Church dominates the “skyline” as you approach on the ferry, eclipsing the once dominant Methodist Church. This morning is the giving of gifts. Well kind of, gifts of pigs, cows, canned corned beef, frozen mutton flaps, and fine mats move back and forth between giver and receiver, money goes in just one direction.

The ceremony goes something like this. Each village is lead by a dancer who can be man, woman, or child. The lead dancer is an important honor. This is followed by elaborate introductions and words of praise in formal language by an orator from the guest village with responses from an orator representing the church’s village. There then is the presentation of gifts. Tonight is a party at the church (Thank goodness Catholic’s do not ban beer). The first mass is tomorrow morning.

New Catholic Church, Salelologa

Dancer, Man (My host Matai)

Dancer, Man

Dancers, Women

Dancer, Child

Host Orator

Orator, Iva

Orator, Woman

Fresh Beef

Church While Under Construction

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