TRADITIONAL SAMOAN GAMES TO BE FEATURED FLAG DAY

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By Vaaimamao Poufa

PAGO PAGO, American Samo (March 9, 2000 - Samoa News/PINA Nius Online)---Nine traditional Samoan games will be revived this coming Flag Day, April 17, according to the Office of Samoan Affairs (OSA).

The Games are Tologa, Taulafoga, Tagati‘a, Tosoga, Lalagaga‘ato, Oogapopo, Sisi‘aafi, Tu‘ugataga and Atoaloa.

Lauti Simona of OSA said the Districts have been notified of this new/old twist on Flag Day, and villages have already been chosen to represent the districts in the various games.

Preliminary competition will take place on March 25 in Fagaalu, and a format for the Flag Day week championships will be finalized.

Tologa is similar to javelin throwing, but whereas the javelin throw is all about distance, Tologa involves accuracy as well. Competitors throw a spear at a coconut tree and the winner is the person who lodges a spear higher on the trunk than any other participant.

Taulafoga is similar to shuffleboard or bocce ball. The malae is covered with mats and coconut leaves. A narrow mat lies atop the others, and two-member teams sit on each end of the mat. They toss coconut shell cups down the mat, and the object of the game is for each team to try and knock out the other team's coconut cups and leave theirs behind.

Tagati‘a involves bouncing a small stick off a stand, for a maximum distance.

Other games are similar to the games known in English as tug of war (Tosoga), basket weaving (Lalagagaato), coconut husking (O‘ogapopo), and sack races (Tu‘ugataga).

Lauti believes the most exciting game will be the Atoaloa (centipede race), involving teams of seven to eight members, running with an eight to twelve feet log between their legs. Only the captain faces the front to steer the log; the rest of his team face the opposite direction.

As for the greased pig competition, a mainstay of Flag Days of yore, there is no indication it will be held this year.

Items from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to

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