2014 Tafesilafai Pacific Islander Festival
July 19 - 27, 2014
100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802
2013 Tafesilafai Festival
"Theme: Lou Tua'oi: Love Your Neighbor"
The 18th Annual Tafesilafa'i Festival celebrates the thoughts, art and culture
of California's Pacific Islander Communities
The promise of the 18th Tafesilafa'i is: loving your neighbor. This year's theme is based on a response from Jesus when he was tested by a Pharisees lawyer after Jesus had silenced the Sadducees on the issue of resurrection. It is one of the two greatest commandments according to Jesus. First is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind and the second is to "Love your neighbor as yourself" as recorded in Matthew 22:39 and Mark 12:31.
The weeklong celebration starts July 19th and ends July 27th, 2014. Admission is FREE and your attendance will get you a discounted admission to the Aquarium of the Pacific. Participating youth groups are given tickets to the Aquarium and there will be other fun things to do in Long Beach. Many events will be in the evening so bring a light sweater or jacket, bring your friends and come spend a few days with us around the water.
Please carpool. Paid parking is available at nearby parking structures and metered parking at the Marina. FREE shuttles are available from nearby churches, METRO lines and hotels. Discounted hotel accommodations are available throughout the city. Last year we recorded over 45,000 visitors during the week of Tafesilafa'i.
Background: Tafesilafa'i started in 1997 as a conversation about how to create an environment that reflects the Pacific Islander identity and at the same time an area where festivies can occur. Tafesilafa'i has now grown into a platform where issues in the Pacific Islander communities can be raised and discussed freely. The Festival is an integration of indigenous, cultural, and religious values in ways that accentuate the importance of family, community, and others. These values are expressed through music, dances, narratives, and rituals. Participants in Tafesilafa'i deepen their faith, hone their talents, and heighten their cultural awareness as they share with others, reaffirming their respect for God, family, self and others in their community.
This year's theme "Lou Tua'oi: Love Your Neighbor" underscores the importance of spreading love within our communities. There are too many broken communities due to the absence of loving and respecting one another.
Tafesilafa'i starts on Saturday, July 19th with a Volleyball Tournament to be held at Long Beach City College Gym at the Liberal Arts Campus. Competition is available in men and women divisions. All teams are welcome to sign up and pay your fees by July 12, 2014 to guarantee a spot. More details will be available on April 1st, 2014.
Sunday, July 20th – Tafesilafa'i Family Sunday Each family puts on their Sunday "toniga" or a uniform and attends services at their place of worship. Uniforms are a sign of solidarity and, when found in a community, signifies unity in diversity. After centering, each family is encouraged to brunch together or accept a brunch invitation from the others.
Youth Kick-Off Worship Service: At 5pm, Youth Groups will perform religious psalms and hymns based on this year's theme. This event will be held at First Congregational Church of Long Beach at 241 Cedar Ave., Long Beach. Come and enjoy the voices of Pacific Islander youth groups.
Monday July 21st is the 24-hour prayer marathon, where prayers, thoughts and petitions, gathered throughout the year, are sounded off and prayed for at each participating place of worship. Many pray for the well-being of the Festival and that it results in healing connections throughout the Pacific Islander Community. Each prayer warrior signs up for 30-minute prayer session at 2nd Samoan Congregational United Church of Christ. Click here to submit your prayer requests.
Gagana Samoa Workshop: Tafesilafa'i is offering this workshop for those who wish to learn the Samoan language. The workshop is scheduled from 5pm to 7pm at 2nd Samoan UCC Fellowship Hall at 655 Cedar Ave., Long Beach. Click here to sign up for the workshop. Seating is limited to 50 participants.
Tuesday July 22nd finds us wrapping up the prayer marathon and candlelight vigil as youth groups put the finishing touches on their dances, songs, performances and cultural sharing.
Culture Workshop: Tafesilafa'i is offering this workshop for those who wish to learn the Samoan culture and other Pacific Islander cultures. The workshop is scheduled from 5pm to 7pm at 2nd Samoan UCC Fellowship Hall at 655 Cedar Ave., Long Beach. Click here to sign up for the workshop. Seating is limited to 50 participants.
Wednesday July 23rd is friend-raising and set-up day at the Aquarium of the Pacific. The tents are raised, the stage is put together, the booths and sinks are hooked up, the "umu" is put in place and the decorations set.
Marriage Counselling Workshop: Tafesilafa'i is offering this workshop for those who wish to learn about ways to strengthen and stabilize your marriage. This workshop is offered as a community service by the Office of Samoan Affairs (OSA) in Carson. The workshop is scheduled from 5pm to 7pm at 2nd Samoan UCC Fellowship Hall at 655 Cedar Ave., Long Beach. Click here to sign up for the workshop. Seating is limited to 50 participants.
Thursday July 24th the drums start beating around the lunch hour. Visitors will be treated to authentic island dance performances. Each group puts on authentic island performances in their unique vernacular. You can purchase authentic island products, experience unique island performances, songs and dances, take part in preparing island cuisines in an above ground "umu" and experience island spirituality.
Amateur Fire Knife Competition: The Fire Knife of Samoa will conduct an Amateur Fire Knife Competition at the Festival this year. The Keeper of the Flame is also offering a workshop where your kids can learn how to twirl the "nifo 'oti" and become a Keeper of the Flame. Have you always wanted to become a Fire Knife dancer? This is your chance. Click here to sign up and join the competition. The Tafesilafa'i Champion will compete at the Weekend in Polynesia on September 6 and 7, 2014.
Friday July 25th when the sun begins to set, another group of performers takes the stage to share their ideas of what it means to be authentic, cathartic and alive.
Sleep with the Fishes: Your children will have the opportunity, to "sleep with the fish" at the Aquarium of the Pacific on Friday night. This year, we have expanded this program to further educate the young ones of Pacific Islander life. All participants will be given a chance to participate in one of the following educational workshops: Gagana Samoa (Samoan Language), Samoan Siva (Dance), Umu Making (cooking food Samoan style) and Fire Knife Workshop. All workshops start at 1pm and ends at 5:30pm then the Participants will go into the Aquarium of the Pacific for their overnight education program until 5am. Participation is limited to 150. Please download the application here.
On Saturday July 26th, you will experience island rituals and an "ava" ceremony early Saturday morning. Dances, songs, talent exhibitions and games follow, or you can walk the beach or take a bike around the bay. Spend the entire day near the water, retiring to your hotel room exhausted, tanned and relaxed. The Keepers of the Flame will be performing when the sun goes down.
Finally, Sunday July 27th opens with Community Worship service at 11am followed by a community meal, spiritual dances, performances, songs and praise hymns from the community until late afternoon. The tempo is very different from other festivals and the sound is uniquely islander, beating to the rhythm of the world's largest ocean.