Lotu-a-Tamaiti is a national observance in Samoa that falls on the second Sunday of October. The Monday after Lotu-a-Tamaiti is a public holiday dedicated to this observance. The name of the observance translates from Samoan as “Children’s Day” but is also known as “White Sunday”.
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This holiday involves special church services being held in Samoan Christian churches that focus on children. Kids and parents attend together, kids take part in plays and recite Bible memory verses, and the sermon is about the value of children as a gift from God or on other kid-focused themes.
On Lotu-a-Tamaiti, the women and kids dress up in white attire before heading to church. Some will also add red and blue outlines since red, white, and blue are the colours on the Samoan flag. Men traditionally don white shirts and pants. Men may also wear a “lavalava”, which is a kilt-like lower garment worn by men in traditionally Samoan culture.
There are various theories about the origin of Lotu-a-Tamaiti. Some say the holiday started as a planting or harvest tradition. Most say it was based on thankfulness to God for sparing Samoans, especially children, from European-introduced diseases as contact with Europeans commenced during the colonial age. But whatever the origins of the holiday, everyone is quick to celebrate children and all they mean to families and to the future of Samoan society.