Fiafia festival will celebrate Samoan culture



President Kamu Taulelei, left, and treasurer Pesi Taototo of the Mitamitaga O Samoa club discuss the history and significance of the upcoming Fiafia festival, an event to demonstrate dance and culture from Samoa and other southern Pacific nations, on Monday at Smith Gym.

MILA WIDMAYER, Evergreen columnist

WSU Mitamitaga O Samoa (MOS) is hosting its 7th annual Fiafia Festival on Sunday at noon in the CUB Senior Ballroom 220. Their event will last four hours and will feature food, fun and dances from a multitude of the Pacific Islands.

“Fiafia is Samoan for ‘happy,’ so it’s a play on words for a happy festival,” said Pesi Taototo, the treasurer for the group. “The main point of Fiafia is to promote our culture to the WSU community.”

The club holds the festival annually during Mom’s Weekend, and it originally took place in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As it has become more popular since 2013, the Fiafia festival is now known to draw in sold-out crowds, filling rooms with a capacity for over 500 people.

“You should buy your tickets as soon as possible if you are planning on attending,” said Kamu Taulelei, the president of Mitamitaga O Samoa. “We’re expecting to sell out the event before doors open Sunday.”

Since winning the 2018 WSU Office of Student Involvement award for outstanding cultural registered student organization of the year, MOS has been working to maintain a higher standard of integrity.

“We’ve been practicing our dances for the Fiafia festival since the beginning of the semester,” Taototo said. “The past few weeks we’ve been practicing every day for hours.”

One of the main reasons why the MOS established itself as a recognized organization on campus was to help Samoan people at WSU feel welcome.

With the Samoan population at WSU being comparatively small, the Fiafia festival is a great opportunity to show off culture, music, dances and traditions with others in the Palouse.

“You end up finding out there’s a lot more Samoan people here at WSU than you thought,” Taulelei said. “You see someone you’ve never seen before show up, and it brings that sense of happiness knowing that someone was looking for that certain community that we provided.”

Tickets can be found online through the MOS Facebook page, or contact [email protected] for more information on their Cash App and Venmo accounts. Student tickets are $14, non-student tickets are $18 and children under four get in for free.

“There’s a Samoan quote that translates to ‘We may be small, but our impact can be big,” said Taototo.