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Flag Day: “Tupulaga mo a Taeao”

Although no date set yet for Flag Day Fautasi race, you can read all about the crews and boats in our Fautasi Fiva features starting Thursday, March 30. [photo: TG]
There’s going to be fautasi race, but no firm date, and how many yet

While the fautasi race is confirmed for this year’s Flag Day celebration, the actual date of the race is not firmed up yet, says Lt. Gov. Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga during yesterday’s cabinet meeting. There was no mention yesterday if there will be a fautasi from Samoa in the annual regatta, which is usually considered the main event of every celebration.

The 2017 Flag Day theme is “Tupulaga mo a Taeao (or Youth for Tomorrow), said Lemanu, who is also the co-chair of the Flag Day Committee, with Secretary of Samoan Affairs, Mauga T. Asuega.

Lemanu observed that there are cabinet members and senior ASG officials involved in fautasi preparations from their respective villages and asked them to always keep in mind the importance of maintaining “peace and harmony” during and after the competition.

He said the fautasi race is the best sporting event, that not only puts a person in good health and best physical condition, but it also brings together the youth and villages. He recalled Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga’s wishes during every fautasi race, for the event to bring peace and harmony not only between villages but also the community.

Therefore he said peace and harmony in the community is of the utmost importance to the governor and local leaders. He reminded everyone to keep that in mind and make sure that American Samoa has another peaceful and successful flag day.

Regarding the race itself, Lemanu said details are being finalized and the race will be dependent on the ocean tide, adding that in past events, the ocean usually gets rough when the race is ready to get underway.

“So let’s not reveal at this time the date of the race so that the ocean tide won’t know in advance,” he said in a joking manner prompting laughter from the meeting.

A fautasi captain meeting is scheduled today at the Office of Samoan Affairs and one issue on the agenda is for fautasi teams to finish paying the entry fee — the amount of the fee was not revealed during the cabinet meeting.

Then on Apr. 10, there is to be a meeting to finalize the rules of the race as well as pick the numbers for the lineup at the starting point.

Lemanu said the committee is looking at later in the week of Apr. 10 for the fautasi race, but again noted that details are being worked out.

As for other Flag Day events, Lemanu said the celebration starts on Apr. 10 to Apr. 13 at Su’igaula o le Atuvasa at Utulei Beach but no activities on Apr. 14 — which is Good Friday and is an ASG holiday.

Throughout the week, he said, a couple of fairs are planned and among the fairs are those sponsored by Agriculture, Commerce Department (which includes a trade fair) and the Health Department. The daytime events are from 9a.m. to around 5p.m. and then at 6p.m. is the annual Arts Council Flag Day cultural festival.

Also during this week, there will be traditional games, which Lemanu said had no longer been played during Flag Day activities in recent years. But in the earlier days of Flag Day celebrations, the cultural game competitions included tug-of-war, pig chase, and climbing a greased coconut tree, he said.

Samoan Affairs is organizing the traditional games and the agency’s deputy secretary Malemo Tausaga told the cabinet meeting that the games will be a competition between American Samoa’s three districts — Western, Eastern and Manu’a — and each district will pick their teams for each competition.

For example, the pig chase competition would have a two-man team from each district chasing a greased pig, and the teams would have a certain amount of time to catch the pig.

Sunday, Apr. 16 is the annual Flag Day church service at Gov. H. Rex Lee Auditorium starting at 2:30p.m. Then the next day, Apr. 17 is the Flag Day ceremony at Veterans Memorial Stadium and the Flag Day Committee, along with consensus from the governor, has said the traditional “siva and pese” would be performed by church youth groups. Samoa News understands siva & pese practice started late last month.

The first church on the field that day will be the Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa (CCCAS), followed by Catholic, then Methodist and the final performance is by Sapunaoa village representing Samoa.

Lemanu reminded all cabinet members to attend the Flag Day ceremony as well as other events.