When it involves Samoa, most individuals consider palm timber, pristine seashores and crystal-clear waters.
While the small island nation within the South Pacific could have all of these issues, additionally it is house to a wealthy and engaging tradition that’s usually neglected.
Nestled between Fiji and Tonga, Samoa is a nation of 200,000 folks that’s bursting with magnificence, historical past, and custom and nowhere is that this extra evident than within the artwork of the Samoan tribal tattoo.
Samoan tribal tattoos, in any other case often called ‘tatau’, have been an integral a part of Samoan tradition for greater than 3,000 years, and are nonetheless thought of a ceremony of passage for younger women and men to today.
The tattoos are created utilizing a software referred to as a “tattoo comb,” with the steel fringe of the comb coated in ink earlier than being pushed into the pores and skin utilizing a mallet.
The ensuing sample of traces and dots will be extremely symbolic for Samoans, usually representing the unimaginable journeys their ancestors took to find the islands from Southeast Asia 1000’s of years in the past.
The tattoos can cowl the complete physique, however largely lengthen from the waist to the knees for males and from the waist to the thighs for girls.
During my current journey to Samoa, an area named Logo advised me that whereas getting a tatau is among the most painful experiences a Samoan individual will endure, additionally it is some of the revealing issues about their character.
“When you do your tattoo, it’s not that easy, it’s very painful, 12 sessions maybe more, so imagine that pain that, that shows how hard you will work for your family,” Logo stated.
“You’re not allowed painkillers, you must endure the pain [which can last several weeks].
“If you don’t finish it, you let your family down, and you bring shame to your family.
“If you see someone who has an unfinished tattoo, it means that he is not ready, he does not have the resilience to look after his village, his family, his wife and siblings.”
Samoa is run in conventional style, just like the way it’s operated for 1000’s of years, with chiefs operating every village and holding great energy on the subject of nationwide politics.
Men will solely obtain management positions, equivalent to being named chief of their village, if they’ve endured the ache of a tatau and efficiently accomplished the complete course of.
The pondering is that if you’ll be able to endure the ache of the tatau, then you have got the resilience and energy of character to take care of your village.
On the opposite hand, ladies with a accomplished tattoo – or ‘malu’ – are thought of to be making a dedication to conventional Samoan values, and to the care and safety of their household.
“For the women when you get the tattoo it means you become a protector of the family internally – if there is a fight in the family, you have to be in the middle and make a solution so everyone can move on,” Logo stated.
Only two households in Samoa are allowed to be tattooists
These households, often called “Tufuga Ta Tatau,” have been practising the artwork kind for generations, they usually maintain an excessive amount of respect in Samoan society.
I had the privilege of witnessing the Tufuga Ta Tatau in motion throughout at a cultural present in Samoa’s capital metropolis of Apia.
The present provided an interesting perception into the native tradition with musical performances and hearth dancing.
I even had the chance to style conventional Samoan meals, equivalent to taro and fish, and witness the ingenious approach this meals is cooked in an earth oven referred to as an umu.
Beyond the cultural experiences, Samoa can be a rustic of gorgeous pure magnificence – as I witnessed at each flip of my current six-day journey to the nation’s two foremost islands, Upolu and Savai’i.
One of the highlights of my journey was visiting the To Sua Ocean Trench, a picturesque pure swimming gap in Upolu surrounded by lush jungle and towering cliffs.
The clear blue waters are good for swimming and snorkelling – and a good way to flee the tropical warmth with temperatures averaging 30 levels Celsius in the course of the day.
Another great spot to chill down was the Piula Cave Pool, a freshwater pool of crystal-clear water that extends underground right into a cave.
And Samoa solely received extra lovely after a quick ferry journey to the bigger Samoan island of Savai’i.
The Afu Aau Waterfall is a must-visit on Savai’i, with cascading falls and crystal-clear swimming pools good for swimming.
Nearby, the Alofaaga Blowholes are a novel sight to behold, with the blowholes making a thunderous sound as they shoot water as much as 30 metres into the air.
A go to to this magical website will not be full with out throwing a coconut into the outlet and seeing if you may get it to soar excessive into the sky because it rides the pressure of the water torrent.
Finally the Saleaula Lava Fields off an eerie reminder of the Savai’i’s volcanic previous.
Savai’i’s Mt Matavanu erupted in 1905, with the resultant lava move forces an enormous quantity of individuals to flee the island because it worn out complete villages.
Visitors to the lava fields at the moment are confronted with a stark black panorama, dotted with twisted timber and remnants of buildings buried by lava.
Samoa can be a rustic stuffed with heat and fun-loving folks, and nowhere is that extra evident than within the resorts and resorts across the nation.
I used to be fortunate sufficient to remain at among the nation’s high resorts throughout my journey, together with the Return to Paradise Resort and Taumeasina Island Resort in Upolu and the Amoa Resort in Savai’i.
All three provided unimaginable service alongside lovely lodging simply footsteps from the seashore.
This author travelled to Samoa as a visitor of Samoa Tourism