The excitement of the inaugural palolo festival attracted a variety of new guests as well as regulars, for last weeks Palolo rising to the Vaimoana Seaside Lodge.
Visitors packed out the hotel parking area and the waterfront view was dotted with boats moored off the property’s jetty, in one of the most sheltered lagoons in Samoa.
A highlight of the event saw guests participating in a palolo kit-making workshop where visitors spent the day making ula leis (flower necklaces) a’a (palolo scoop nets) and palolo baskets made of coconut leaves and cotton lining.
For hotel guest and successful business woman, Lufilufi Rasmussen who travelled from Apia for the Palolo Festival, it was an opportunity to learn about the rituals and traditions associated with palolo harvesting.
“I have always wanted to “ka palolo” (catch palolo) in Asau and the surrounding areas because these parts are well known as some of the best spots in Samoa to catch palolo”, she said.
Mrs Rassmussen says the week leading up to White Sunday is always busy but they took the time out once they learned about the activities being offered during the Palolo Festival.
“When I heard about all the different activities, such as this workshop on making your own palolo catching kit – I knew I didn’t want to miss out on this unique experience.”
“This has been a wonderful event and next time I will definitely bring my children to the Palolo Festival because in this day and age of modern technology, I want to get them away from their devices and take them on an adventure that connects them to their culture and identity.”
Across four properties in Salelologa, Siuafaga, Manase and Asau, guests were treated to daily live performances by local bands; PolyFlavour, Tofuiava Band and Silver Bullet.
Festive hours and entertainment started earlier than usual in the day allowing guests enough time to celebrate and rest before heading out in the early hours of Palolo rising.
The inaugural event has established a foundation to develop a premium tourism product for Savaii and Samoa.