Lotu Tamaiti on a somewhat ‘normal’ year has been suspenseful and exciting for many children in Samoan households over the years but bring on a pandemic with a seasoning of lockdowns and you’ve mastered the creation of no stage frights, and self-made content creators.
Lotu Tamaiti are two words we know all too well in the Samoan Community, those two words that, depending on your age bring on excitement, or fear.
The excitement of knowing you are about to show off your amazing skills and talents, or the fear that mum and dad will be watching you like a hawk from the crowd below - at least that's how I remember it. I remember it clearly: reciting the same verse repeatedly to the tune of my parents telling me to speak up or ‘leo tele!’ (boy I don’t miss that), to the love and adoration I received following my stunning performance, it was like the gates of heaven had opened for me!
I loved White Sunday as a child, it was like a second Christmas in our family.
White Sunday also known as Lotu a Tamaiti or Lotu Tamaiti as many would say, translated in English literally means 'Children’s Church’.
White Sunday is a public holiday in Samoa, celebrated annually on the second Sunday of October.
It’s a special day of celebrating our tamaiti (children), a day where all children are treated like royalty - princes and princesses, some would even say kings and queens (so lucky!). A day where there are endless options for lunch yet somehow our little hungry caterpillars only pick out of the 2 most popular ones: McDonalds or KFC. A day where tamaiti adorned in white will perform special readings, dance creatively and act out skits from the bible.
‘Children are a gift from the Lord, they are a reward from him.’ Psalm 127:3.
A bible verse that springs to mind is, “this is the day that the lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it”, and ‘rejoice’ is exactly what happens. Tamaiti everywhere rejoice through dancing, singing, acting, reciting and giving thanks to the heavenly Father, but also because they know it’s the one day, they get to make all of life's decisions: what to eat, what to do, where to go, what flavour ice cream to buy.
Oh to be 4 years old again, attending church rehearsals to see my friends and to learn our memory verse, to feel the excitement of knowing that Mum will be buying me a new dress and possibly new shoes, and if I'm lucky a new hair clip too. Dreaming about the happy meal I will receive at lunch wondering which toy I'd pull out of the box. No care in the world except what flavour sundae I will be allowed to eat. Why couldn’t I stay young forever? (sigh*)
So many happy memories to hold on to, and many happy memories to be made, especially for our tamaiti here at Aukilani Kids.
With the help of our amazing teachers and staff, we were able to celebrate White Sunday successfully in the weekend just gone. Our tamaiti looked like angels in their white dresses and shirts as they sang their little hearts out, including our beautiful tamaiti learning from home during the lockdown, (big thanks to the parents!) They did an amazing job performing their tauloto (memory verse).
We are truly blessed to be in this position of teaching and nurturing our tamaiti to continue practising the ‘fruits of the spirit’ daily, which is an extension of what they learn at home.
As the bible says, ‘Children are a gift from the Lord, they are a reward from him.’ Psalm 127:3.
Let's continue to love our kids every day and count our blessings.
"This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24
Check out our White Sunday items and photos from our amazing school, and home learners.
Aukilani Kids spreading the good news.
Riley sharing a lovely message from the bible
Steve and his siblings take part in White Sunday while learning from home.
Emersyn and her beautiful aiga (family)
Keneti and Fa'afetai with their lovely item
Cecilia and her brother share a beautiful song.
Phoenix and his sisters share a beautiful message.
Moira and her brother's White Sunday item.