Every Sunday in Samoa, the churches are full of people wearing white, singing heartily to Jesus. After church, families and villages come together to eat. In the Islands, food is traditionally prepared in an umu. This is much like a hangi, but the food is cooked on top of the ground, rather than under it.
In New Zealand, Samoan families come together in homes, much like the Kiwi Sunday roast. Umu is for special occasions.
I meet my family once a month. Two of my sisters are vegans, so it is not unusual to see tofu and salads on the table, beside a roasted pig’s head. My siblings and I were born in NZ, we are a fusion of many things.
It is very important that the host does not run out of food. This is unthinkable. Everyone who attends brings food. The meal starts with my father saying grace. We rarely start on time, but nothing is ever wasted. All guests are send home with a doggy bag.
Eat till you sleep is a Samoan saying. It sounds lazy, but is a reflection of the pace of life in the islands. Samoans value people, and I love to relax with my loved ones around me on a Sunday.
by Colin Tavui