Friday, March 26, 2010

Fa'alavelave Funeral Reunion

A few weeks ago, KC, Kaitie and I participated in a funeral reunion. Our neighbor, Leafa's, father died a year ago. In Samoan culture, the year anniversary of a family members death is a big deal. They have a huge gathering of dozens of family members and friends. The family cooks enough food for the whole village, there are loads of presents given to the guests, and the new tombstone is revealed. In Samoa, there are no cemeteries to my knowledge- all family members are buried in your front yard on your family's property. The graves are often housed in elaborate shelters, which are meticulously taken care of. Often, because Samoa is ridiculously hot and humid, these cool cement slabs are the perfect and preferred places for an afternoon nap, especially after Sunday to'onai. Leafa's funeral reunion for her father was really wonderful. It was like a big family picnic, with a lot of praying, hymns sung a capella and delicious samoan food (each person was served a serving tray sized portion- in true Samoan fashion). The family wore matching puletasi and i'e made at the local taylor's. We also got to meet Leafa's son,Keith, who was an amazing college football player- played for UHawaii and was on the cover of sports illustrated a few years ago! He's the man. All in all, it was a really incredible experience I was honored to be a part of!

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