2013 Tafesilafai Pacific Islander Festival
July 28 - August 4, 2013
100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802
2013 Tafesilafai Festival
"Talitakumi: Heal the World"
17th Annual Tafesilafa'i Festival celebrates the thoughts, art and culture
of California's Pacific Islander Communities
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. 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 Tafesilafa'i.
Background: Tafesilafa'i 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 others.
This year's theme "Talita Kumi: 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. See Tafesilafai 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 for the first time, we are having a Volleyball Tournament. We have an open men and women division with a 10 team maximum roster. Click here for additional information.
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 decorations set.
The Leaders Dinner is in the evening at 7pm. This year's dinner will be on the Grand Romance Riverboat and it is a great opportunity to meet new friends and connect with old ones. Our guest speaker this year is Merrill Crump from Unity Fellowship of Long Beach. Ms. Crump is passionate about HIV and STI education and she will be sharing her experience as one of God's. Click here for additional information.
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. Click here to sign up.
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.
On Saturday 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 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 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 largest ocean.