Light Festival lights up nation
The spirit of Christmas is alive in the township of Apia, especially at night to bring emeralds of hope to the nation during these dark and challenging times.
Spearheaded by the Samoa Tourism Authority (S.T.A.), in partnership with Government Ministries and agencies, the 2020 Light Festival is lighting up the town area with Christmas decorations of assorted types and kinds.
S.T.A. Liaison Officer, Su’a Hesed Ieremia, said the whole idea behind this year’s festival is bringing light to these dark times faced by the country and the whole world during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And with the border closure restricting citizens from travelling abroad and preventing tourists from entering the islands, the festival hopes to encourage those at home facing hardships.
“These are hard times for everyone,” he said. “This year marks the anniversary of the measles that struck our nation and 2020 is also the year that the world would remember because of COVID.
“Light Festival is trying to bring that light into any dark situations whether you have lost your job due to COVID…this is a beacon of hope for families to see the light.”
The festival will be officially launched on 11 December followed by entertainment, a Santa parade and fireworks display on New Year’s eve.
According to Su’a, the first village to come forth and support the festival is the village of Savaia Lefaga. The village has installed Christmas lights in all families' homes and will light up their streets on 10 December to coincide with their Talomua a day later.
Su’a said the S.T.A. is assisting the village to find sponsors to assist with their light show while Government Ministries will fork out their own funds for their lights.
He said most of the Government Ministries have old lights that they are using for their display. To compensate the efforts of those in the private sector, he said they are also looking for sponsors of prizes to award to businesses for promoting the light show and at the same time ignite their activity.
It has been an unusual sight seeing the amount of traffic at night from the coast of Matautu to Mulinu’u with families driving into town to watch the light show.
One place that always captures the eye is the Samoa National Provident Fund building at Matafele opening the curtain to a stream of coloured lights on Beach Road.
On the opposite side is the Central Bank of Samoa building, although its light setup appears simple but elegant in its own way.
When you drive a little further down Beach Road the firefighters department also have their own display in their corner.
The business community has also joined the festival by lighting up their front doors with ornaments, gifts and Christmas trees.
A drive towards the Mulinu’u peninsula and you would not miss what appears to be a cruise ship, which is the Ministry of Justice Courts and Administration building covered in bright lights. The sector has certainly done justice with their own light decorations as part of the festival. Members of the public have been seen getting out of their vehicles to take photos to share with family and friends on social media.
Residents in the area have also put up a show with their Christmas lights, such as the village of Vaimoso and Tuaefu with some residents going all out with their lighting decorations.