Sāmoan families across the country will be getting ready this morning for the annual White Sunday service. Lotu Tamaiti – Children’s Service or Children’s Day, if you like.
Parents’ would have woken up extra early this morning to prepare the food for To’ona’i. The kids, reluctant to get up and out of their warm and comfortable beds, are with mixed feelings of nervousness and excitement. The long-awaited day has finally arrived. After weeks of ‘White Sunday’ practice, they will recite their bible verses or take part in a dramatic reenactment of a bible story.
The shiny new white clothes and sparkling ‘Cinderalla’ shoes laid out entirely, ready to be adorned by tired and grumpy kids. The same kids will soon endure the tugging and pulling of the hair while it’s transformed into the best hairstyle of the decade.
I remember the mixed emotions as a child. The dread of facing the whole congregation and taking part in the class play was nerve-wracking — the realisation of it all would increase anxiety levels. The upside was the thought of being treated as someone special after the service, where we were the guests of honour at the family To’ona’i. What was even more exciting was that you got to experience it all with your cousins.
“Fai fa’alelei lau pepa” – Recite your verse properly. “Leo kele” – Speak with a loud voice. “Aua le fa’aū’ū ou guku pe a fai lau pepa” – Don’t frown when reciting your verse — oh the memories!
Let us appreciate and treasure our children daily, not just today. Children are our greatest gifts in life — and what a perfect and beautiful day it is to celebrate them.
A very happy White Sunday to all the beautiful children of Sāmoa. Ia Manuia le Aso Sā o Tamaiti!