The women’s committee of Tufulele celebrated the end of a fine mat weaving season with a special ceremony known as “faalelegapepe” where the mats are publicly displayed through the village.
Led by Tufulele high chief’s wife, Faasula Luatuanuu, the women serenaded and paraded the fine mats from Utualii to Tufulele.
As the wife of Tufulele’s paramount chief, the faletua’s role is to lead women’s committee activities for the development of the village.
Faasula’s husband, Luatuanu’u Pili is the “Toetaufanua o Tulafale e fia a Malietoa” and the 74 year old paramount chief says he is proud of the women’s achievements to revive and maintain the art of fine mat weaving. Other matai of the village were also seen proudly joining the celebrations.
Women performed dances and songs to mark the important event and according to Faasula Luatuanu’u, the event ensures this important cultural practice is nurtured by the next generation.
Faasula says its been five years since the women of Tufulele have been competing in the faalelegapepe event at the annual September Teuila Festival.
However, due to the cutback of many cultural events for the Teuila this year including the faalelegapepe, the Women’s committee of Tufulele took the opportunity to plan their own end of weaving season celebrations last Saturday.
“We used to just complete one large fine mat in the village to enter into the Teuila, but this year we managed to complete 10 fine mats for our celebrations”.
“Ia e muamua pea ona sii le viiga ma le faafetai i Le Atua ua aulia mai lenei aso e faatino ai le matou faamoemoe i le aso o le faalelegapepe poo le faalauiloaina lea o measina Samoa poo ie Samoa”.
Faasula Luatuanuu says the aim was to increase the number of women and youth getting involved in the weaving of mats.
“It’s wonderful to see the women and youth are enjoying the art of weaving lalaga and it has increased the number of ietoga this year”.
“Manaia ma fiafia lava le loto i le vaai atu ua toatele lava nai fanau foi ma uso ua fiafia lava e lalaga ie toga ia lea ua faateleina ai lava matou ie e faalele i lenei aso.”
According to Faasula, there were also a few incomplete fine mats on display, but they did not want to discourage those who had not completed from showcasing their achievements thus far.
“We want to encourage women to keep weaving and take pride in their work as weavers”, she said.
Luatuanu’u challenged the women and youth of Samoa with the message to revive the art of fine mat weaving and to continue to enjoy this art, unique to Samoa.
“Nothing comes easy but if you work hard and put your whole heart into it, then anything is possible”.