Cultural values are upheld as part of everyday life, including in the home and village. This includes dressing modestly and following religious and cultural protocols.
For visitors, Samoa’s culture and traditions will provide a truly authentic and fascinating insight into this ancient Polynesian way of life.
To make the most of the experience, it is a good idea to learn some of the basic protocols expected in Samoan society.
Protocols to be Aware of
Visitors who are lucky enough to be invited into a Samoan village or fale (house) may wish to make themselves aware of some of the normal protocols to adhere to.
If you are unsure, it is always a good idea to ask the host to guide you through this.
Some basic cultural guidelines in the home include:
- Removing shoes before entering the fale
- Do not stand if elders are seated
- If seated, avoid pointing your toes at others by crossing your legs or, covering your toes with a lavalava (sarong) or mat.
Some basic cultural guidelines in the village include:
- Always asking permission before taking photos
- Always asking permission to enter a lagoon or bay, which a village may hold customary land rights over. Wait until a local comes along and expect to pay a small entry fee in cash.
- Wear modest clothing - women should look to cover knees and shoulders. No swimsuits.