Sunday best needs prior planning

For many women in Satapuala their duties and responsibilities on a Sunday extend to preparing clothing for their entire families. 

Anita Masele told the Samoa Observer on Sunday that one of her main responsibilities of being a mother is being in charge of the clothes worn by family members at church.

The 47-year-old said that the role of a Samoan mother comes with responsibilities including making sure clothes for her children and husband are all prepared.

“My duties as a mother require myself to do laundry and do ironing of our white clothes on Saturday,” she said.

The mother-of-seven stated that her whole family should be all dressed in white in church on Sunday.

“We are currently attending the Methodist Church and the women have to wear a puletasi (it is a traditional item of clothing worn by Samoan women) while men have to wear shirts and ie fataga (formal lavalava) no pants in church,” she said. 

“In our Samoan culture respect is very important and part of the duties and responsibilities that we women are in charge of is a form of respect within the families.

“While I was young, I used to pay attention to how my mother did the chores to maintain our family.”

She added that it was through her mother who taught her how to be a person who can take care of her family, and reminisced on the memories she had of the various occasions. 

“In terms of the fondest memories is how our family in those days would use an old 'auli malala' (hot iron heated by coconut shell charcoal)."

Ms. Masele added that the coconut shells had to be burnt beforehand and then combustion was halted by sprinkling water on the embers at charcoal stage before they turned to ash.

“We don’t use any auli Malala because now we use electrical irons. For any Samoan family, faith is also important because God is the foundation and strength within our families especially with so many difficulties that come our way.”

Another Satapuala woman, 17-year-old Isadoralidna Livigisitone, said that every Saturday night she is tasked to iron her parents’ church clothes and also has to dress up for church on Sunday.

“I have to wear a white puletasi for church; but after church I also have to wear a different puletasi to do the chores for our Sunday feast because wearing a puletasi is a sign of respect for our elders and that is part of what it means to be a Samoan lady.”

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