02 March, 2012

Samoa Celebrates the Origin of the Tattoo - Hosts the 5th International Samoa Tatau Festival

Samoa, an island nation located at the heart of the South Pacific is a traditional society and is widely known as the most authentic of all the Polynesian cultures.  A 3,000 year old tradition called Fa’a Samoa (The Samoan Way) is the essence of the Samoan culture and is found nowhere else in the world.

One of the most important features of this culture is the Tatau, a rite of passage that represents the spiritual and cultural heritage of Samoa and is a mark of one’s personal and spiritual maturity and commitment to Fa’a Samoa.

A tradition that is unbroken for thousands of years this art has survived and has spread the world over and is now considered one of the finest traditional art forms.  Many believe that Samoa is the ancestral home of the tattoo, with some experts claiming that the modern word tattoo is derived from ‘Tatau’.

Samoa celebrates this important cultural treasure and will be hosting the 5th annual International Tatau Festival at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel.  The Festival will run from 31 May to 2 June, in time for the 50th anniversary of Samoan Independence.

The Pe’a is the male tattoo which covers a wide area of the mid section of the body from the waist to the knees.  The female version, called the Malu covers the legs from just below the knee to the upper thighs.

A master tattooist using handmade tools of bone, tusks, turtle shell and wood and can take weeks, sometimes months to complete.  This process is only done the traditional way with the subject lying on mats on the floor and once completed the pe’a and the malu are viewed with cultural pride and identity as well as a mark of manhood and womanhood.

The Samoa Tourism Authority is excited to welcome back the festival to its home ground.  “Samoa is known by many as the origin of the tattoo and is such an important element in our heritage and culture.  We cannot wait to share with and educate the world its beauty, origins and significance and we welcome you to come join us to celebrate this important aspect of our culture”.

The Festival’s theme is “From Roots to Rebirth: Celebrating the Art” and will showcase the works of Samoan master tattooists from around the world as well as live demonstrations of this age-old art.

For more information and images please go to www.samoa.travel

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