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10 Interesting And Unique Facts About Samoa

How much do you know about the Pacific Island country of Samoa?

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Samoa is a beautiful island nation located in the Pacific Ocean. Two major islands and four smaller ones together comprise the nation. The islands in Samoa have a volcanic origin, and are unlike any other place on Earth. Here are some interesting Samoa facts!

10. There Is Only One City In Samoa

Apia, the capital city of Samoa, is the only city in the country. It is located in the island of Upolu which is the country’s second biggest island. The city is part of the Tuamasaga, a political district in Samoa. As of 2011, the population of Apia is 36,735.

9. Samoan Houses are the Most Ancient Structure In Polynesia

The Pulemelei mound is located in the Savai'i island’s Palauli district. It is an ancient pyramid made of natural basalt stones. The height of the pyramid varies from 23 ft to 39 ft at the northern and southern edges, respectively. According to archeological evidence, the pyramid was built around 1100 to 1400 AD.

8. Are Samoan Boys Raised As Girls?

Fa’afafine is a group of Samoans who identify themselves as having a non-binary role or being a third-gender. They are an integral part of the traditional Samoan society and culture. Although the fa’afafine are assigned the male gender at birth, they are believed to embody both male and female characteristics. There is a popular Western theory that the Fa’afafines are basically the youngest males in a household with more boys than girls. Here these males are raised as girls to conduct the women’s duties in the home. However, modern research discards this theory.

7. The ʻie tōga Is An Important Symbol Of The Samoan Culture

The ʻie tōga is a finely woven mat that serves a highly significant role in Samoan cultural ceremonies including weddings, funerals, and title bestowal ceremonies of matai chiefs. The mats are woven by women and graded on the basis of the degree of shine and softness. These mats also act as family heirlooms or are exchanged as gifts.

6. 84% Of Samoa’s Land Birds Are Endemic To The Country

84% of the 37 species and subspecies of Samoa’s terrestrial birds are found nowhere else in the world. Some examples of these birds include the Samoan tooth-billed pigeon, Samoan wood rail, Samoan ground-dove, etc.

5. Tattooing Is A Part Of Samoan Culture

Samoans have gender-specific tattoos that are culturally significant in the region. Samoan girls receive the malu tattoo that stretches from the upper thighs to just below the knees. In males, the tattoo is known as Pe’a and it is more intricate in design and stretches all the way from the upper waist area to the knees.

4. A Samoan Legend Explains The Origin Of The First Coconut Tree

Sina and the Eel is the name of a Samoan legend that explains how the first coconut tree came to life. There are several versions to the legend that are popular in different parts of Oceania. According to one version that originated in Samoa’s Savai'i’ island, the story is a tale of love between a beautiful girl called Sina and her pet eel. The eel was Sina’s pet since it was small. However, as the eel grew older, it fell in love with the girl. Afraid of the change in her pet’s behavior, Sina ran away to a village where she took shelter to escape the eel. However, as she visited a pool in the village to fetch water, she saw the eel staring up at her from the water. As she shouted out for help, the villagers came to her rescue and killed the eel. The dying fish made a last request to Sina. It desired for its head to be buried in the sand. Feeling sad for its once beloved pet, Sina did as requested. A coconut tree soon grew in its place. When the husk of the coconut was removed, one could see three marks on the coconut that appeared like the two eyes and a mouth of the fish. One of these marks was pierced for drinking. Thus, when Sina took a drink, it was like she was kissing the eel. This legend lives on in the island and there is a pool named Mata o le Alelo in the Matavai village on the island that is associated with this legend.

3. Samoans Love To Play Kilikiti, A Form Of Cricket

After the European missionaries introduced Samoans to cricket, the game became highly popular in the country. Over the years, the game evolved on the islands in the region and is known as kilikiti. The game is the national sport of Samoa. Kilikiti events are often accompanied with singing, dancing, and feasting activities.

2. Traditional Samoan Houses Have No Walls

Relationships between community members are highly fostered in the Samoan culture. Hence, Samoans had fale or houses with no walls that hosted large groups of people and promoted bonding between members of a community. These houses are oval or circular in shape with a domed roof supported by wooden posts. Coconut palm leaves are used as blinds to protect the occupants from bad weather.

1. Samoa Is A Growing Tourist Destination With A Wealth Of Attractions

Samoa is an exotic destination with numerous attractions, both natural and cultural. The landscape of Samoa features volcanic islands, lava fields, tropical rainforests, long stretches of sandy beaches, waterfalls, mountains, caves, etc. All these and more are thus waiting to be explored!

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