You don’t have to be in Samoa to be proud of your culture. No matter where you go and live, as long as you remember your roots and who you are that all it matters.
For Samoans residing in Sweden, being away from their home country doesn’t not mean that they can’t be proud of their culture and heritage.
They have been getting together for four consecutive years now to celebrate their culture in Sweden.
Aiga Esau-Jonsson who has been residing in Sweden for 19 years now spoke to the Samoa Observer about their great get together this year.
Mrs. Jonsson said the main objective of the gathering was to share their Samoan culture and cooking with other fellow Samoans in Sweden.
“Since we all live in geographically separate places in Sweden we appreciate to get together once a year for some festivities - especially in the summer when everyone is on vacation and the weather is warmer,” said Mrs. Jonsson.
The gathering is also an opportunity for the older generation to pass on the Samoan culture to their children, said Mrs. Jonsson.
“The gathering is also a way for us to pass on some Samoan traditions to our children by telling them Samoan stories, having a fashion show with Samoan traditional dresses, Samoan singing and dancing and speaking our own language,” she said.
“Most of our children have never been back to visit Samoa, so this gathering is an opportunity for them to meet each other, get closer and appreciate their Samoan heritage.”
Said Mrs. Jonsson, for this year’s gathering, they were divided into four different teams, Upolu, Savaii, Apolima and Manono.
Traditional Samoan fun games was one of the activities of the day, said Mrs. Jonsson.
“The games we had were tu’ugataga (sack race), tosoga maea (tugging rope) and others.”
Said Mrs. Jonsson there are 15 Samoans in Sweden with their children.
“The gatherings are a great opportunity for us as Samoans to enjoy and be Samoans,” she added.
“This is something we look forward to every year and we are happy that we are still able to put together something like this for us and our children even though we are far away from home.
“Our children are so looking forward to this event every year.”
Mrs. Jonsson is usually involved in organising the activities for their gatherings every year.
“We would like our children to learn about the Samoan traditions, listen to the Samoan old stories, take part in Samoan dancing and learn about preparing the Samoan food to make our children proud of their Samoan heritage.”
Aiga Esau-Jonsson is married to a Swedish and they have two children.