Tuesday, January 15, 2008

FUNERAL: Samoan Traditions

Samoan Ifoga

"In the Samoan tradition, an ifoga is a ritualized formal apology where those seeking forgiveness humble themselves before the person or family that was hurt. An ifoga can take days. Those seeking forgiveness may have to wait in the hot sun or through the rainy night and there is no guarantee that the apology will be accepted. There is no guarantee there won't be retaliation on the spot.

"If the matter is very serious, the high chief from the village of the accused would perform the ifoga.

"It is a very humbling gesture on the part of those asking for mercy. An envelope of money collected from among the community is offered as part of the ifoga, as well as an 'ie toga, a fine mat, considered the most significant and sincere part of the ifoga ritual."

Courtesy of the Honolulu Advertiser.

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