Santa parade to close Festival of Lights

Samoa’s inaugural Festival of Lights will end with a Santa parade on Wednesday afternoon, says the head of the Samoa Tourism Authority (S.T.A.), Fa'amatuainu Lenatai Suifua.

The Chief Executive Officer of the country’s peak tourism body said the parade will start from the Vaisigano Bridge to the event space at the Fiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinuu II Building in town.

"[The] Santa parade [will] coincide with the [height of the] season. It has been a tough year for Samoa, especially the tourism sector. Last year we had the measles then the COVID [pandemic] and recently the flooding," Fa'amatuainu said.

"[We want to] put a little bit of joy and cheer as we are nearing the end of such a challenging year to date. The parade, Festival of Lights and the fireworks is an event of hope, joy, family event, gift-giving, especially the main season of celebrating the birth of the Messiah."

The Government-supported festival was launched on 11 December and is led by the S.T.A. in partnership with a number of Government Ministries and agencies. 

The measles outbreak late last year and the COVID-19 global pandemic this year led to the cancellation of a number of national events, such as the celebration of the country’s 58th independence anniversary and the Teuila Festival that is normally held in September.

Barring last Friday’s catastrophic flash floods following a week of continuous rain, which inundated private residences and business premises resulting in damages valued at thousands of tala, many members of the public saw the festival as an opportunity to get out and about and celebrate despite a tough year.

Roads in town will be blocked on Wednesday afternoon for the parade with Tupai Bruno Loyale of Magic Circus of Samoa also expected to be part of the Santa flotilla. Government Ministries, businesses, organisations and youth and sporting groups are also expected to participate.

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