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White Sunday is upon us: a day to remember our children are precious gifts

fili@samoanews.com

Today and tomorrow will be very busy for American Samoa as residents gear up for White Sunday, dedicated to our precious children. Because Samoa has moved to the other side of the international dateline their White Sunday is tomorrow (Saturday in American Samoa).

Introduced in the islands by Christian missionaries in the 1800s, White Sunday has became a special holiday, with children being treated to the best — from White Sunday outfits to food served during family toanai. It is always celebrated on the second Sunday of October and children are treated as kings and queens for their day.

White Sunday is also celebrated in other parts of the world where Samoan communities are located, such as Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New Zealand.

Traffic today and tomorrow is expected to give many motorists headaches, especially in the areas of the  Laufou Shopping Center and downtown Fagatogo. Some shoppers opted to carry out this faithful duty earlier this week so they would not be caught in traffic, but some who have not completed shopping will brace traffic congestion and everyone is praying for good weather.

Police are beefing up road patrols today and tomorrow because of the expected traffic, and are calling on drivers to watch out for pedestrians, especially young children. Police also urge parents to keep a close watch on their kids while out White Sunday shopping.

A check with local stores, bakeries and other merchants since early this week found that local businesses are prepared for White Sunday shopping with clothes, food and beverages. Lots of ice cream, in a variety of flavors is available in stores, as well as cakes and pies from local bakeries.

Besides family feasts, it’s also traditional on White Sunday for families to take a full basket of food items to their church minister and senior matai.

At least two stores contacted yesterday said they are filling two popular orders — flower leis and money ulas — which are not only given to children but to church leaders. Specials are being offered for children’s leis and hakes.

White Sunday is lavishly celebrated by the Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa and the Methodist faith, but in past years it has spread to other faiths, although to a smaller degree. The Tongan community here also hold White Sunday services.

Many stores are having special White Sunday sales today and tomorrow. And if tcooking at home is too much, local restaurants are offering White Sunday specials for the family, especially the children. (see Samoa News advertising today and tomorrow for complete details)

Samoa News staff and management wish all the children of the world a day, such as our White Sunday, filled with special moments of loving-kindness, celebrating our children as gifts of God.

Look for Samoa News reporters visiting some of the churches on island for photos of White Sunday's morning service.

If you have a ‘special moment’ caught in a photo — please email it to us (news.admin@samoanews.com) with a caption identifying the moment and photo credit. Please include a phone number or contact, because at the end of the week, we will give away 2 free passes to Go Hollywood Theatre for the ‘best’ White Sunday moment of 2012.

Samoa News will publish photos of this year’s White Sunday throughout the week.

Have a happy and safe White Sunday, American Samoa.



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