Samoan Culture

Other Considerations

  • There are two Samoas: American Samoa and Independent Samoa. The former is considered to be U.S. territory while the latter, which is the primary focus of this cultural profile, gained independence from New Zealand in 1962. Despite the geopolitical separation, the Samoan people share a common language and culture.
  • In Samoa, there is a general widespread acceptance of transgender people. In particular, some may raise their boys as girls. Such people are known as fa’afafine (the third gender). This does not equate to the Western notion of gay, and those who identify as fa’afafine generally don’t refer to themselves as gay.
  • Note that prayer times in the evenings are common. This is when an entire village will observe a quiet time, dedicated to prayers. It is disrespectful to walk through a village during this time.
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