Samoa is a Polynesian island country in the Pacific Ocean consisting of two large and four small islands. It hosts a population of around 200,108 inhabitants. The most popular religion in Samoa is Christianity.
Religious Composition Of Samoa
According to the CIA World Factbook, Christianity is the religion of the majority in Samoa. Protestantism is the most popular denomination of Christianity practiced in the country. 52.6% of the population are Protestant Christians. Among them, Congregationalists and Methodists represent 29% and 12.4% of the population, respectively. Other popular Protestant sects include the Assembly of God and the Seventh Day Adventist with followings that account for 6.8% and 4.4% of the country’s population, respectively.
Samoa also has a significant number of Roman Catholics and Mormons who represent 18.8% and 16.9% of the population, respectively. The Worship Centre has the affiliation of 2.8% of the population. Followers of other Christian sects and other religions account for 6.3% and 2.4% of the population of Samoa, respectively. Only 0.2% of the people of Samoa do not believe in religion.
History Of Religion In Samoa
Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, the indigenous people of Samoa practiced a complex polytheistic religion. Such religions focussed on the worship of both animate and inanimate objects of nature that were associated with a spiritual essence. The religion also involved ancestor worship.
The contact of Samoans with Europeans began relatively late in the first half of the 18th century. The first European to sight the islands of Samoa was a Dutch named Jacob Roggeveen. Christian missionaries and traders did not arrive in Samoa until the 1830’s. The British missionary John Williams who was active in the South Pacific region was the first to start missionary work in Samoa. Later, missionaries representing the various denominations of Christianity worked actively in Samoa to convert the locals to their beliefs. In the absence of any organized religion and under pressure from the colonial powers, the people of the country were Christianized. Today, the Samoans have deep-rooted Christian beliefs and most of them attend church regularly.
Religious Freedom And Tolerance In Samoa
The Constitution of Samoa provides for the freedom of religion. People of the country can practice any religion of their choice. The law and government policies ensure that this right of the people is protected. Christian instruction is, however, compulsory in the public primary schools throughout the country. Since most of the population adheres to Christianity, there is little opposition to this rule. Christian holidays like Christmas, Good Friday, Easter Monday, etc., are observed as national holidays in the country.