White Sunday message: Our Children Bless Our LIves
It’s the annual White Sunday celebration — always coupled with the Monday federal and local holiday (Columbus Day), it’s a three-day weekend; and in his first White Sunday message as chief executive, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga says everyone agrees that “our children bless our lives and fill our hearts and homes with laughter, love and happiness.”
He continued, “How grateful we are to have not just White Sunday to honor our children, but every day, to thank our Heavenly Father for the joy we find in them… Let us be serious in our responsibility to take care and cherish them.”
White Sunday is always celebrated on the second Sunday of October.
Introduced in the islands by London Missionary Society 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.
Traffic today and tomorrow is expected to give many motorists headaches, especially in the areas of Laufou Shopping Center and downtown Fagatogo. It should be especially intense since local furloughed workers have now returned to work.
Over the last couple of weeks, churches were filled with young children practicing songs and memorizing versus for their White Sunday program, said Lolo, adding that parents are busy preparing white clothing for their children and deciding what special treats will be served at Sunday’s feast.
And White Sunday comes at a good time, ASG workers were paid on Monday this week.
In the meantime, preparations are in full forward mode:
Police are beefing up road patrols today and tomorrow because of expected traffic congestion 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 Tuesday found local businesses were just waiting for the good news — clothes to food and beverages, with lots of ice cream, in a variety of flavors are available in stores, as well as the favorites: freshly baked cakes and pies.
At least four stores contacted Wednesday said they are filling two popular orders — flower leis and money ulas — which are not only given to children but to church leaders. Traditionally on White Sunday, families also take a full basket of food items to their church minister and senior matai.
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 holds White Sunday services.
White Sunday is also celebrated in other parts of the world where Samoan communities are located — places like Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New Zealand. Because Samoa is now on the other side of the international dateline, their White Sunday will be tomorrow.
In the meantime, the 3-day weekend is keeping travel between the two Samoas busy.
Polynesian Airlines’ local station manager Toe Loia said they mounted eight flights yesterday as well as today and both days are full; however, the airline is not adding any extra flights. Loia did say that many local residents are sending boxes of goodies to Samoa, keeping Polynesian’s cargo service busy.
At Inter Island Airways, a company official said, their usual schedule is two flights a day but they added two more flights yesterday and today, to accommodate the travel demand. The official also says that Inter Island has received a lot of cargo since the beginning of the week that is being uplifted on all fights.
Samoa Air — the airline that made international headline news for its pay-per-weight fares — hasn't had any flights for some time now because there is no aircraft. According to Apia news reports, the aircraft has been sold to Real Tonga airline based in the Kingdom of Tonga.
On Monday, the local government will be closed along with the majority of businesses in the territory including the commercial banks. The U.S. Post Office and all federal offices here and in the U.S. will also be closed.
The Samoa Consulate Office in Fagatogo will be closed Monday in honor of the local holiday, according to the Consulate Office.
Samoa News print edition will not publish on Monday but will return on Tuesday. Tomorrow’s Toasivili edition will be published as usual and samoanews.com will update daily as usual.
(Look for Samoa News reporters visiting some of the churches on island for photos of White Sunday's morning service to be published in Tuesday’s paper.)
Samoa News staff and management wish all the children of the world a special day, such as our White Sunday, filled with moments of loving-kindness, and celebrating our children.
Have a happy and safe White Sunday American Samoa.