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My eldest brother is currently visiting me here in Brisbane. He is quite elderly now and in poor health.

He has asked me that when he passes, that I ensure that his funeral is not done the fa'asamoa way because it is too much of a financial burden on his immediate & extended families.

I've just returned from a Samoan Funeral in Melbourne where this family also respectfully requested that no fa'asamoa be done ... Alas, to no avail. People still came with Fine Mats, Monetary Gifts. (I thought that those who ignored the familys' request were extremely disrespectful).

I'm noticing more & more (especially in Australia) that this is becoming a common request amongst the Samoan Community. ie NO FA'ASAMOA AT FUNERALS.

Thoughts?



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I don't want any faasamoa done at my funeral either. If you come to seek financial reembursement for your "troubles" then you can go play in traffic because you're a greedy pig! Hahaha!! I have insurance pay for my funeral expenses.

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It is almost impossible to stop people coming with si'i. Especially if the deceased is a Samoan married to another Samoan. At a funeral of a relative happened a couple of years ago. She was samoan but was about as palagi as they come, but she was married to a Samoan guy long time ago (divorced long time ago as well) and she had 3 kids from that marriage, who still kept in contact with their father.

The ex-husband's family came en masse to present their si'i. The orator's speech was quite moving. He said that despite the marriage having ended years ago, the massive ie that was presented symbolised the father's respect for the ordeal of childbirth that the mother went through to give birth to his three children. There was not a dry eye in the house. lol



-- Edited by Commonsense on Monday 2nd of July 2012 07:47:32 PM

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However, heaps of Samoans nowadays have life insurance. Good planning. Life insurance is going to be compulsory in my family

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Agree with the Insurance. It's very cheap nowadays. I pay $35 per fortnight for my wife & I and all our 8 kids and 7 grandkids. In the event of a death, the payout is $15k or $45k if it was an accident. This is different from our Life Insurance Policies though.

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GoldenK1W1 wrote:

My eldest brother is currently visiting me here in Brisbane. He is quite elderly now and in poor health.

He has asked me that when he passes, that I ensure that his funeral is not done the fa'asamoa way because it is too much of a financial burden on his immediate & extended families.

I've just returned from a Samoan Funeral in Melbourne where this family also respectfully requested that no fa'asamoa be done ... Alas, to no avail. People still came with Fine Mats, Monetary Gifts. (I thought that those who ignored the familys' request were extremely disrespectful).

I'm noticing more & more (especially in Australia) that this is becoming a common request amongst the Samoan Community. ie NO FA'ASAMOA AT FUNERALS.

Thoughts?


 Same with most families in U.S.A.  I guess it all depend on the families.  The way I see it, we can never eliminate the "fa'asamoa" completely with these formal occasions or events.  Especially if the one passing away holds a matai title or their spouse has a title also.  Your family may think your relatives, friends...etc. are disrespectful, but if  your family do not accept who you are (samoan) and their gifts your family would deemed disrespectful of your heritage and to your extended families, friends...etc.  I don't think they were ignoring your family's request at all. 

 O le autu o le aganuu ma le faasamoa e faailoa atu le faaaloalo ma le loto alofa, ae le'o se faatigaiina o se tasi po se aiga.  E talu ona faigata le faasamoa i nuu i fafo ona o le taugata o le soifuaga ma le nofo totogi, ma le'o se tatou nuu moni. 

E tatau lava ona tali le faaaloalo o le aganuu.  Ao le mana'oga o si Tina/Tama...etc e faataunuu e le fanau.  Tu'u le aganuu mo le aiga tele.  A'o fuafuaga o sauniga mo le maliu e fai e tusa ai ma le finagalo o le ua maliu.  Pau lena o sa'u fesoasoani. 



-- Edited by warrior on Monday 2nd of July 2012 08:09:23 PM

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Yup, I had a close family member here in the US - but who was estranged from the main aiga - supposedly request a fa'apalagi funeral. But not even her husband listened. lol

The good thing was it was mostly all family, extended family with a few very close friends' families. No strangers or career funeral attendees.





-- Edited by Daywalker on Tuesday 3rd of July 2012 12:58:45 AM

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I find solace in funerals involving the Fa'aSamoa. It eases the burden in a way, taking my mind off grief every now and then (especially with the choirs and the powerful speeches).

If it takes a village to raise our children, shouldn't it also take a village to bury them too?

I've been to my fair share of European funerals and there's always something missing to me. They're lucky to have ten people show up, the extended families haven't been in touch for years. The service is never more than an hour and concludes with a few sandwiches and tea.

Most Europeans aren't active churchgoers so they usually "rent out" a preist for the service and "hire" his church out as the venue. There's no spirit to the service at all. 


It seems like a poor send off in comparison. An injustice to the beauty of life in a way, I'm not sure.



-- Edited by Fanau Niu Sila on Tuesday 3rd of July 2012 01:39:43 AM

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The problem is when you have a lot of people coming from overseas... many are expecting to be reimbursed. The last I remember a two way plane ticket for single person from samoa, australia or new zealand to here in the states was like 1600.

So there's easily 10s of thousands of dollars being passed around at big funerals.

Then you have several dozen people staying in a single house for about a week... and the host family has to accommodate them. Everyone is helping eachother out but still... it is a burden.





-- Edited by Daywalker on Tuesday 3rd of July 2012 02:02:39 AM

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Yeah, I see where you're coming from bro.

At the last big family funeral over here, we had family coming from left/right and centre. Most of them were all camped at our place for the entire two week stunt, some stayed a few days longer lol.

Most of us had to take the time off school because it was considered "disrespectful" to leave them at home unattended. Most of them wanted to do "tourist-like" things as well so we played "tour guides" for them.

Money was flying out faster then we could count it. They came with only the clothes on their backs. If I had turned up in Samoa with only the clothes on my back I would have been tossed into the umu that same day and hung out to dry lol. 

When they all left, we had a lot of things missing that were never returned. Jewellery and other valuables, even my secret savings stash had been swiped. 


OUR OWN BLOOD & BONE.

That's what disgusted me the most lol.


At the end of it all my parents wouldn't have another word from us. They ignored all the missing property and carried on like nothing ever happened. They were working right through and came home to noise like never before. They never bitched or moaned about any of it. 

I didn't understand them at the time but I kind of do now. Even with our family imperfections, blood is thicker than water. 



-- Edited by Fanau Niu Sila on Tuesday 3rd of July 2012 02:09:31 AM

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I highlighted some negatives in my previous post but there was a lot of people really coming out of their pockets contributing. And there was a lot of people volunteering there time - taking time off from work or school - there cooking, cleaning and handling arrangements everyday. There were people there who scraped together what little they had just to attend the funeral. One of the relatives drove his family though like 6 states just to pay their respects.

Like you - and I'm sure nearly everyone else here - theres things I love about it and things i dislike.
But overall I've always come away from our family's funerals with a profound respect for the culture.




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Daywalker wrote:


Like you - and I'm sure nearly everyone else here - theres things I love about it and things i dislike.
But overall I've always come away from our family's funerals with a profound respect for the culture.



This is a profound statement that rings true in my ears. It's not easy appreciating our cultural identity in these Western societies; but when we find the right balance we can live prosperous lives. 



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GoldenK1W1 wrote:

My eldest brother is currently visiting me here in Brisbane. He is quite elderly now and in poor health.

He has asked me that when he passes, that I ensure that his funeral is not done the fa'asamoa way because it is too much of a financial burden on his immediate & extended families.

I've just returned from a Samoan Funeral in Melbourne where this family also respectfully requested that no fa'asamoa be done ... Alas, to no avail. People still came with Fine Mats, Monetary Gifts. (I thought that those who ignored the familys' request were extremely disrespectful).

I'm noticing more & more (especially in Australia) that this is becoming a common request amongst the Samoan Community. ie NO FA'ASAMOA AT FUNERALS.

Thoughts?


 

K1

 

Nice topic, now what I am going to say is my very own personal opinion. In reference to Funerals I believe every Samoan funeral should be done in the Fa'a Samoa way so the younger generation can learn our customs and traditions performed at a funeral and keep the culture going strong for once it stops being practiced it will be FORGOTTEN etc.. etc.. etc....

True the whole money part etc is a negative but everything else is beautiful and is what makes us SAMOAN.

 

* To have a Samoan Funeral without all the Fa'a Samoa stuff you might as well tell the elders to speak English lol Im not going to lie I have uncles and aunties who have requested that there be NO FA'A SAMOA at the FUNERALS etc which was granted but to a certain degree. While all the older folks in my family discussed the funeral they came to this conclusion:

 

(THERE IS NO WAY THAT A SAMOAN FUNERAL CAN HAVE NO FA'A SAMOA FOR WE ARE SAMOAN) 

 

But since my aunty requested NO Fa'a Samoa they went on ahead and agreed to tell the extended family etc no Fa'a Samoa but that still didn't stop my family from preparing just in case people still did the Fa'a Samoa stuff which was very smart because even though the family said no Fa'a Samoa some families still came with Ie's etc and we were well prepared for it, the funeral turned out great.

 

 

 

 

 



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Usually when I hear people saying "no fa'a samoa" at weddings and funerals etc, what these guys really mean is "no long speeches at the end" and certainly "no faaaloaloga". Well, the faaaloaloga can be cut short or not done until the next day or later, but the "long speeches at the end" are not that long if you know what they're talking about lol










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Commonsense wrote:

Usually when I hear people saying "no fa'a samoa" at weddings and funerals etc, what these guys really mean is "no long speeches at the end" and certainly "no faaaloaloga". Well, the faaaloaloga can be cut short or not done until the next day or later, but the "long speeches at the end" are not that long if you know what they're talking about lol









 lmfao ... Yeah NO LONG SPEECHES please!!! When my father died - OMFG!!! Peeps came and spoke all freaking day & night.

We (our entire family) left them to it and headed up to the pub.



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Very Interesting Read @ all the above.

When I first read the initial post; I thought that Kiwi's Brother was referring to 'size' i.e He wanted a small no fuss Funeral and not a big one with all the works.

In that case, my story is:

I will never follow through with such a  Request from a close Relative of mine if it was communicated directly to me.  I find it very common amongst Elderly Men in my Family to talk like that.

One of my Grandfather's Brother's made it known amongst the Family that He only wanted a 'small' Funeral.  The things is; their Sister [my Grand Aunty] granted Him His request and hence a small affair took place at His property in the Hills with immediate Family only in attendance.  It was the early 1990's and I was very young at the time, however from my understanding - not even a Radio/Newspaper announcement had been advertised of His passing.  The week after the Funeral, my Mum and I were at a sports tournament in Apia - She was speaking to some People and a Man was trying to get Her attention.  He pulled Her aside and they engaged in a conversation which seemed to go on forever. 

Basically, the Man had just found out that my Uncle had passed away / had already been buried and was deeply hurt and a bit distressed that He had not been informed about it.

There were many more like Him and they all were trying to get a hold of my Mother in the aftermath for some sort of explanation.

Years later my Mother and I were discussing the incident and realised that my Grand Aunty still should have gone through with the proper proceedings and all inclusions taking into consideration my Grand Uncle was who He was.

Now, in the case of my own Grandfather - the youngest of the Brothers and the last to leave - He just wanted us to lay Him on a raft in front of our House and allow for the tide to take Him out to sea [no joke!].  As if!  Impossible! LOL.  He had far too many Family and Friends for His Funeral to end up being anything but 'small', LOL.

My Grandfather's funeral was delayed because we had to wait for some Elders of my Grandmother's Family [and my Village] to return from NZ where they had been attending another Funeral.  Otherwise, the majority of our Relatives and Friends were already in Samoa.



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Agree with Hunter.

The reason most Samoans don't want "fa'asamoa" involved is because of the financial burden on the families. However, it's difficult to justify stopping family (extended, village, friends etc) from paying their respect to a deceased. Especially those that have served their family/church/nu'u for many years.

My grandfather was such a man. He brought so many of our family over from Samoa to NZ. With the little money he earned he was forever contributing to faalavelaves. He later became a faifeau and served in Aust and Samoa. Us younger generations are the beneficiaries of that life time of service. We never truly appreciated how many people my grandfather helped until his funeral.

In terms of the financial burden, the sao of our family would keu the si'i's by returning less (money/ie kogas/food) than we received - rather than the extravagent reciprocation many families feel pressured to give. Afterall isn't that what si'i's are meant to be? To help "lift" the family in need?

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The formula I am familiar with is that if 5000 is brought in, you return 2000. Return 40% per si'i. The rest is divided up amongst those who contributed to the faalavelave.

If 1500, return 600 or something like that.

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Sitting at my dads funeral I honestly couldn't understand why people had brought fine mats & money ONLY to be given those fine mats back, the money returned with interest and given boxes of Cabin Bread, Cans of Corned Beef, Sugar & Coffee etc.

AFTER my dad was buried, we returned to the hall for lunch and there were more speeches where we (the family who was supposed to be in mourning) had to carry sides of beef to many different speakers.

Over 7000 people including the Mayor attended my dads funeral over 6 days in NZ. In all, we spent in excess of $80,000 on his funeral.

The replies have shed some light & understanding on the 'Pros & Cons' of our culture and it's traditions.

Thankyou for taking the time to share all your views.

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Commonsense wrote:

The formula I am familiar with is that if 5000 is brought in, you return 2000. Return 40% per si'i. The rest is divided up amongst those who contributed to the faalavelave.

If 1500, return 600 or something like that.


Yep - That's what we did for my Grandfather's Funeral.

If there was one thing that we were overflowing with after the Funeral - it was FOOD!  It virtually fed my entire Village for the rest of the week! LOL.



-- Edited by Hunter on Tuesday 3rd of July 2012 07:21:37 PM

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GoldenK1W1 wrote:

Sitting at my dads funeral I honestly couldn't understand why people had brought fine mats & money ONLY to be given those fine mats back, the money returned with interest and given boxes of Cabin Bread, Cans of Corned Beef, Sugar & Coffee etc.

AFTER my dad was buried, we returned to the hall for lunch and there were more speeches where we (the family who was supposed to be in mourning) had to carry sides of beef to many different speakers.

Over 7000 people including the Mayor attended my dads funeral over 6 days in NZ. In all, we spent in excess of $80,000 on his funeral.

The replies have shed some light & understanding on the 'Pros & Cons' of our culture and it's traditions.

Thankyou for taking the time to share all your views.


Wow, that's really interesting Kiwi.

Nothing of that sort carried on after my Grandfather's Burial.  Straight after the burial it was totally 'chill and relax' [with alcohol LOL] for everyone in our Household and section of the Village for the rest of the evening.



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Fine mats come with one meaning and are returned with another meaning lol Those who know more about these things than me may wish to correct me, but my understanding is:

A faakamalii should never be returned by the guys bringing the si'i. (Faatamalii is the sua that is presented to the au fai si'i by the mourning family, sua consists of vailolo (eg: the bottle of coke with money in it and vala - siapo), amoamo sa (eg: tray of biscuits and big can of pisupo), ie o le malo (smaller ie toga), suatalisua (pusa pisupo or bloody big cow depending on who it is), au afa (big ie toga) and a keukusi (money)). It is like an insult if it is returned to the mourning family.

The lafo (money for the orator) and ie koga (for the orator) can be returned. This is where you see the ie koga passed backwards and forwards and two orators start the back and forth back and fifth back and sixth stuff lol

The palapala malo (the foodstuff - pusa pisupo, pusa moa etc) is usually taken. This is then distributed amongst those who contributed to the si'i. Sometimes, if it is quite a sizeable amount of pusa - 50 pusa pisupo, these can then be returned and again the orators play oratorical basketball as they try and find a way to return the 'faaoso'.

When it is an exchange between two families who were joined in marriage (paolo ma gafa) or a faifeau and his church or some other important relationship, then various other huge fine mats and smaller lalaga are unwrapped and basically marched from one end of the hall / malae to the other in a long line of singing women. The big huge fine mats have names (eg: ie o le mavaega / tofa o le aiga etc) and they are escorted by the smaller fine mats (or lalaga). Depends on the relationship between the two parties on what the names of the big fine mats are called. All those fine mats are foodstuffs are then redistributed amongst the recievers. 

 



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From what I can read above, these things vary from family to family according to status. The bigger the status, the more you give back to visitors, but the more you receive as well.

A lot of it involves pride. Some families insist on returning these traditional goods in the name of "respect & honour" without realising the impact that it leaves on the family. Others are more genuine and only give back a percentage of what was received to safeguard family finances.

In most cultures it is disrespectful to return gifts but in ours honour takes precedent.



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Commonsense wrote:

The formula I am familiar with is that if 5000 is brought in, you return 2000. Return 40% per si'i. The rest is divided up amongst those who contributed to the faalavelave.

If 1500, return 600 or something like that.


 Best formula is 50/50.  E fa'afoi le Ie tele na ave ai le si'i, a fai ae fiamana'o ai le aiga i le Ie lea ona sui mai lea i se latou Ie e talafeagai ma le Ie lea na avatu ai le si'i.  A'o Ie uma lava e tu'u e le aiga.  O aso nei ua le toe faaaogaina ni lalaga (ie laiti), ua na'o Ie tetele. 

O le 50% (tupe o si'i alofa) e fesoasoani i le aiga e fai ai mea uma mo le maliu.  Afai la e totoe se tupe, toga ma mea aai, ie ta'i sua...etc i le faai'uga ona, teu ai lea o le aiga tele lea na maliu lona tagata.  O le aiga lava e mulimuli o le immediate family of the deceased.  A lelei lava le budget a le tulafale ma le tagata lea e tuu iai le api, e tofusia uma lava le aiga lea na fai le maliu, e alu ai ma le au faifeau...etc.   

E le mafai ona tete'e e se'isi se sua e ta'i atu mo ia.  Ua na'o le tamali'i e ta'i iai le sua.  E lua vaega o le sua ta'i:  Sua taute-taumafataga vela, Sua tali sua-o mea aai e le'i faavela e fai ai taumafataga a le alii later ona.

Manaia lava pe ana a'o i luga o le forum lenei le tatou aganuu...a ea....lol ... Manaia le fesili a K1.



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