A traditional Mothers Day in Samoa

Mothers Day for us here in New Zealand is just another day, but it’s a day where mum gets a gift and an extra hug. In Samoa, Mothers Day is done properly.

I was lucky enough to get to spend Mothers Day with a family in a village called Lefuga. The family I was spending the day with was your typical, traditional, Samoan family.



The family lives in an open fale, which is basically just a house with no walls. This fale didn’t have power, the family was saving up to have the power connected and they were using their umu for cooking. An umu is a small shed, again with no walls, where the cooking is done with stones and fire. Kind of like a Maori hangi, but above ground.


There were a few things that impressed me about how this family does Mothers Day. First off, the mother/s in the family are treated like royalty, the men and children worked hard to look after the mums.

The second surprise was when the mums came out from behind their curtains and makeshift walls all dressed up, looking stunning in their Sunday best ready for church. All around the fale was dirt. I struggled to see anything clean and it was about 35 degrees, but these ladies came out in their Sunday whites and looking great.


After a huge lunch that the men prepared on the umu we went to church. I was a bit reserved, as I was the only white guy for miles and I stuck out like a sore thumb. I sat at the back of church and listened to the great singing and laughing that took place. This was like no church that I had been to before. No preaching, no quiet times even, just a whole lot of singing, laughing and happy people.

Kids were wandering around through the service, laughing and smiling, although they were a little confused by the palangi with the camera at the back of the church…


If you’re in Samoa over the weekend, get out into a village and meet a family, they’d love to take you along to their church on Sunday. Even better, get up to Lefaga and talk to someone there about visiting their church, you’ll certainly have a good time, even if you’re not the religious type!