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White Sunday tops 3-day weekend for the territory

White Sunday 2014 [SN file photo]

The annual White Sunday celebration coupled with the Monday federal and local holiday (Discoverers’ Day), adds up to a three-day weekend — and a busy one at that — as residents gear up for a day dedicated to the children of American Samoa.

For lawmakers, however, they are getting an extra day off: today. Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie informed senators Thursday that Fono leaders had agreed that the Fono will not convene Friday, but will return next week Tuesday.

The plan is that the Fono will officially end the current 2nd Regular Session of the 35th Legislature next Friday — which is the end of the work-week. House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale made a similar announcement at Thursday’s House session.

If the Fono had convened Friday, the current session would have closed next Thursday.

White Sunday, introduced to the islands by Christian missionaries in the 1800s, is a special holiday, with children being treated with the best — from White Sunday outfits, to food served during family toana'i. It is always celebrated on the second Sunday of October.

Traffic Saturday is expected to be a headache, especially near the Laufou Shopping Center and downtown Fagatogo. Because of this, police are beefing up road patrols and they are calling on drivers to look out for pedestrians, especially young children. They are also urging parents to keep a close eye on their kids while out White Sunday shopping.

Representatives of some local stores, two bakeries, and other merchants said this week that they are prepared for White Sunday shopping - from clothes to food and beverages.

The Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa and the Methodist faith lavishly celebrate White Sunday, and in past years it has spread to other faiths, although to a smaller degree. The Tongan community here will also be holding White Sunday services. Tonga and Samoa— on the other side of the International Dateline — are holding their White Sunday celebration today.

White Sunday is also celebrated in other parts of the world with Samoan communities, such as Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fort Hood (Texas), New Zealand and Australia.

On Monday, a federal holiday, the local government will be closed along with the majority of businesses in the territory, including the banks. The U.S. Post Office and all federal offices here and in the U.S. will also be closed. There was no word at press time if StarKist Samoa is working Monday.

For the Executive Branch, the American Samoa delegation initially scheduled to head to Apia next Tuesday for the Oct. 12th 2Samoa Talks will not be traveling.

 Commerce Department director Keniseli Lafaele told Samoa News yesterday that the annual event has been postponed until later this year, because Tuilaepa was medivaced this week to New Zealand, where he remains at the moment. A statement from the Samoa Government states that Tuilaepa’s medical check up in Auckland is precautionary, on the advice of doctors following initial tests at Moto'otua Hospital in Apia, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

In honor of White Sunday and Discoverers’ Day, Samoa News will not publish on Monday but will return Tuesday.

Samoa News staff and management wish all the children of the world a White Sunday filled with moments of loving-kindness, celebrating our special gift from God — our children.

Have a happy and safe “Lotu Tamaiti” American Samoa.