Sunday, March 30, 2008

Talomua/First Taro


Talomua is when the young men present the first fruits of the new taro to the village chiefs or party of visitors. Today a Talomua was held in Iva for all the villages on Savaii’s eastern shore (most densely populated part of Savaii) and Savaii’s first within recent memory. The Ministry of Agriculture conducted this old custom for local farmers along with the Prime Minister as a contest for cash prizes, somewhat like a county or state fair, but with a definite Samoan twist.

During the Talomua there are long prayers, long speeches by dignitaries, and even longer greetings by village orators. Of course the main event is the giving of gifts, fine mats, cooked pigs, and slaughtered cows to the ministers, guests and officials. Iva villagers received cash for putting on the affair, prizes handed out, and exhibited produce sold. Food was served to all. A pickup with beer pulled up. Everyone went home happy, many with extra cash in their pockets.

Events like this remind me of a certain universality among peoples, filling the same basic needs for community, but each doing so in their own unique way.

Presenting Ava Sticks to Guest

Some Mighty Fine Veggies

Kate Everett, Peace Corps Volunteer, Assisting with Judging

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