Our Samoan pride and joy.
By: Tosimae’a Tupua
The tattoo is a symbol of our cultural pride and heritage. It involves enduring pain. For these brave men and women getting the Samoan tatau symbolizes a rite of passage as well as inner strength and resilience.
In the past two weeks, 3 men and 5 women endured 4 hours of intense pain each day to get what they have always wanted, the pe'a and malu. For Alwin Faapouli, getting his tatau or sogaimiti while his 16 year old daughter Alana Faapouli got her malu is indeed a joyous time for the family. The emotional Alwin told KVZK News the tatau on his skin symbolizes strength and empowerment. He is proud to see his daughter get her malu and it has been a bonding experience for him and his daughter.
Tavai F. Tuaipulotu Tavai, also had to endure the pain for his malofie or tatau. He said it is a moment of pride in his life. The Deputy Director of the Election Office was also proud when his family arrived for the ceremony last night. His father, Senator Tuiagamoa Tavai said during the ceremony the brave Samoan men and women that have the pea and the malu show it with pride. It is a beautiful aspect of traditional samoan culture. The ceremony called the samaga pe’a in Samoa culture is a final act of release.
The Tufuga cracks an egg on the heads of the brave men and women, rubbing them in with a little coconut oil. The families also presented Tufuga Su’a Suluape with traditional gifts in the form of a sua. Then it was time to honor them with a solo dance to show off their intricately decorated legs and torso, a symbol marking their skins for the rest of their life, showing their love for family and of course our Samoan heritage. Families who were there last night celebrated with a huge feast, complete with music and drinks and their newest soga’imiti and malu – still sore, but happy and relieved it was all over.