“Talitakumi: Heal the World”
17th Annual Tafesilafa’i Festival celebrates the thoughts, art
and culture of
The promise of the 17th Tafesilafa’i is
healing. The task: examining hurtful relationships and
allowing them to heal. The charge is giving your
relationships time, space and being to heal. The week-long
celebration starts July 28 and ends August 4, 2013. Admission is
FREE and your attendance will afford 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 that week. 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 30,000 visitors during the last 4 days of
started in 1997 as a conversation about meaning-making in the
Samoan community. It has now grown into a platform where
issues in the Pacific Islander communities in California are
examined. 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 respect for God, family, self and
This year’s theme
“Talitakumi: Heal the World” underscores the importance of
healing relationships to the world. It affirms the
existence of hurtful ones. It is the realization of this
necessary way of being that creates thriving, meaningful and
healthy communities. 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.
Tafesilafa’i starts Sunday July 28th with
family centering. Each family puts on their Sunday “toniga” or
uniform and attends service at their place of worship. Uniform
is a sign of solidarity and, when found in community, signifies
unity in diversity. After centering, each family is encouraged
to brunch together or accept a brunch invitation from others.
Family Sunday Schedule
Monday July 29th 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 sessions at
Second Samoan Congregational United Church of Christ.
Tuesday July 30th 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. This year’s leader’s
forum will be in the evening at the Second Samoan fellowship
hall. The event is FREE and open to the public but you
must let us know you are coming so we can save a seat for you.
This year we are adding a volleyball tournament.
Wednesday July 31st 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
Thursday August 1st the drums
start beating around the lunch hour. After the Aquarium
closes, 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. FireKnife
of Samoa is offering the Keeper of the Flame workshop where your
kids can learn how to twirl the “nifo ‘oti” and become a Keeper
of the Flame.
Friday August 2nd when the
sun begins to set, another group of performers take the stage to
share their ideas of what it means to be authentic, cathartic
and alive. Your children will have the opportunity, to “sleep
with the fish” at the Aquarium of the Pacific Friday night. The
necessary enrollment forms are available on line. Download the
application here (link to the sleep with the fish application)
August 3rd, 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 catamaran out to 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 for
August 4th opens with community centering 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