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The people of Manono have long held the reputation of being the most proficient seamen, while those of Apolima have the distinction of being the bravest and finest warriors among the islanders.
The islands of Tutuila, Upolu, and Savaii bear a striking resemblance to one another. The mountain peaks are clothed in perpetual green, and all are surrounded by barrier reefs of coral, over which the breakers, never ceasing, dash into spray. The rivers are simply tortuous mountain streams, which at times of heavy rainfall become turbulent torrents, frequently uprooting and carrying away large forest trees. As they rush down to the sea, many cascades, falls, and cataracts of impressive beauty and grandeur are formed; one of the latter plunges over a precipice three hundred feet in height.
The cocoanut, bread-fruit, taro, and banana form the mainstay and daily food of the people. In the economy of a Samoan household nothing enters so largely or assumes such conspicuous importance as the cocoanut. The Samoan chiefs affirm that it was sent direct from heaven. Nothing is more acceptable to a tongue parched with tropical heat than its cool, palatable, and refreshing milk, while its soft, tender meat is fit for a meal. Although these trees grow naturally and abundantly, and to a perfection perhaps unknown in any other part of the world, still, in order that the demand shall never equal the supply, a number of nuts are planted each year. later years cocoanuts have been largely cultivated for commercial purposes.
The bread-fruit tree is distributed throughout Polynesia and furnishes food for thousands of inhabitants of the various islands. It is a
handsome migrations, traditions, customs, and similarities tree, with do not for a moment doubt this fact.
large darkQuatrefages, in his work on "The Polynesians green den- and their Migrations," illustrates satisfactorily tated leaves. the manner in which the Polynesians reached The fruit, the various groups of islands in the Southern when ripe, Pacific; and it will only be necessary for one measures to investigate New Zealand, Tonga, Tahiti, about six inches in diameter and is of a the Marquesas, the Sandwich Islands, and bright golden yellow, with a rough and pitted Samoa to find convincing proofs in both the surface. When roasted-the usual way of physical and philological characteristics of cooking it-it is not a bad substitute for their inhabitants that clearly indicate one combread, and its taste and merits soon become appreciated by strangers. Next in importance after bread-fruit is taro, or arum, which grows in thirtyodd varieties. This is a tuber, oblong in shape, that frequently grows to be fifteen inches long and six in diameter. Its large-ribbed, heartshaped, heavy leaves, growing from the top of the root, are always conspicuous in Pacific island landscapes.
Although the Samoans now have a written language, the old chiefs, who possess fertile imaginations, rich in resource and abundant in material, delight in recounting the wonderful deeds of valor of their ancestral chiefs and heroes, all of which traditions have been passed to the chief when a boy by word of mouth from his fathers, and he in turn passes them in the same way to his descendants.
Like all other races of eastern Polynesia, this people originally sprung from the Malay Archipelago. Those who have studied Polynesian
mon origin. The changes in features, form, and color, as well as in customs, traditions, and language, are but slight, and are the natural result of long separation and various modifying influences introduced from different directions.
In color the Samoans are the lightest, in physique the most perfect and imposing as well as the most graceful. In disposition they are the most gentle, and in manners the most attractive, while mentally and morally they are much the superior of their neighbors. Their color varies through shades ranging from a dark brown to a light copper, and occasionally to a shade of olive which is exceedingly pretty. Their hair is straight, coarse, and black, although one daily meets a number of bleached red-heads, artificially produced by the application of coral lime, which is used to stiffen the hair so that it will the more easily stand erect a style greatly admired. The hair is generally worn short, combed upward towards the crown, and receives frequent and liberal applications of cocoanut oil. Varieties of adornment prevail according to the fancy of the individual; these usually express themselves in the use of flowers and leaves, which are twined into wreaths and garlands and worn with becoming effect.
were called the "godless Samoans." This idea was, however, found to be erroneous, and it was discovered that they possessed a religious belief peculiar to themselves. At the time of his birth each individual Samoan was dedicated to some imaginary god, who kept constant watch over his daily actions and guided his destiny. This god was supposed to appear in some visible incarnation, which to that individual remained forever afterwards an object of veneration. They believed in a soul, or disembodied spirit, which they called Anganga, meaning a going and coming. This to them was represented in the functions of sleeping and waking. When sleep overtook one they supposed his soul had been called away to wander with other spirits in the lower regions, the location of which they referred to as being under the sea; and when the Anganga returned, awakening was the result. They possessed also a system of mythology of their own, in which everything relative to themselves was intimately connected; and by this means they were able to explain, to their own perfect satisfaction, the origin and cause of every obscure phenomenon.
Notwithstanding the influences of Christianity at the present time, the greater number of Samoans of to-day live under the powerful influence and
constant dread of some of their old deities. This induces them to perform strange acts of heathenism.
Hospitality is a part of the Samoan religion, politeness one of their chief characteristics, and a dishonest act the exception. Food and shelter are vouchsafed to every one entering their homes or villages, and the stranger has but to consult his own wishes when he is ready to depart. Attached to every village is a Faletale, or guest-house, set apart for the reception, lodging, and entertainment of visitors. Generally this is situated in the middle of the village, and is also used as a council-house on occasions when the chief and the people assemble to discuss subjects of importance. Foreigners and visitors from other villages are at once conducted to this house set apart for their occupation, a journey of considerable distance often being made especially to meet them, when they are received by the chief of the town and the maid whose duty it is to look after the welfare of
the guests. During the preliminary conversation, in which the compliments of the day are exchanged with a lavish expenditure of personal flattery, the kava-bowl is produced, and while the free interchange of compliments continues, the bewitching nut-brown maid, with the assistance of her dusky attendants, begins to masticate the seductive root. In the meantime the villagers, being advised of the arrival of the visitors, have assembled in another part of the village, collected articles of food, and begun to sing and march in procession towards the Faletale. Boys and girls, young and old, making a festive display, their persons anointed with cocoanut oil and arrayed in scanty toilets of leaves and flowers, join in demonstration of songs of praise and welcome. The music of their well-attuned voices, first heard faintly in the distance and increasing in sweetness and volume as they approach nearer and nearer, produces a charming effect, the impression of which is long retained by strangers. In the meantime the guests, who have remained seated and silent, as if unconscious of what is going on, preserve a wonderful solemnity of countenance as each donor in turn modestly places his offering at the feet of the most honored one, with salutations inimitable in gracefulness. On such occasions food, consisting of fruits, fish, and sucking-pigs, is sometimes given in sufficient quantities to sustain a visiting party for days and weeks.
No occasion of ceremony or importance takes place without the use of kava, a root of the pepper family, and all exchanges of sociability are conducted under its influence. The concoction of the seductive beverage made from this root is attended with so many ceremonious observances and acclamations of approval that an account of the customs of these people would be incomplete without reference to the manner in which the drink is prepared.
A wooden bowl, a cocoanut cup, and a strainer are the implements used in making the brew. That personage of the chief social importance in Samoa, "the maid of the village," is invariably called upon to brew the bever
age, which ceremony, with her attendants, she conducts with becoming dignity. After carefully washing out her mouth in the presence of all assembled, she seats herself upon the matted floor with the bowl in front of her, and with resigned manner and preoccupied countenance begins to masticate the bits of root handed her by the attendants. Piece after piece is chewed until the mouth is full and the cheeks bulging, when the mass is ejected into the palm of her hand and with a graceful swing deposited in the bowl. This operation is repeated until the proper quantity of the root is secured. Then her hands are washed scrupulously clean, and an attendant having poured the required amount of water into the bowl, the maid proceeds with the compounding. With a graceful rolling and twisting movement of the hands she mixes all the undissolved portions of the root in the "fou," or strainer, which, after wringing, is shaken out, and the straining repeated until the brew is finished.
A vigorous clapping of hands three times announces that it is ready to be served, whereupon the highest chief, or toast-master, in a loud, monotonous tone, exclaims: "Ah, here is kava! Let it be served." Then one of the attendants produces the cup and presents it at the bowl to be filled by the maid, which she does by plunging the strainer in the liquid and afterwards squeezing it over the cup. She will then, says a writer on Samoan customs, face about, and with the cup held delicately by the outer rim, level with her dimpled chin, and with her arm raised, stand in the most charming attitude of expectation, awaiting the crier's instructions as to whom she is to take the cup. The toast-master, having decided who is to be honored by taking the first cup, calls out his name with a loud, sing-song voice. The louder and more prolonged the name is pronounced the greater the compliment. The maid bows with dignity and presents the cup to the honored one with her most irresistible grace of manner, then stands with a becoming air of simplicity awaiting the command of the person whom she has just favored, who either returns the cup to her with a gracious acknowledgment, or with dexterity spins it along the floor-mats towards the bowl, the perfection of which practice is to cause the cup to stop immediately in front of the bowl. The
accuracy with which this feat is sometimes accomplished is surprising.
The cup is again filled, and in the same manner the Samoan nectar is presented to the person next in rank, until all the chiefs have been served. Kava is tabooed to women, so they never partake of it except upon occasions of very great ceremony, and then only to touch it to their lips. The effect of kava is slightly exhilarating to the mental faculties, and under its influence the imagination becomes active and poetical, while a happy feeling of indifference to surroundings is experienced. It never intoxicates, but when consumed in excessive quantities it has a paralytic effect on the lower extremities, which is sometimes sufficiently pronounced to prevent the individual from standing erect and walking.
The Samoans are a joyous, fun-loving people, and under the slightest pretext for an excuse they gladly indulge their buoyant natures in singing and dancing. The latter is a pleasure largely indulged in by all ages and classes. Among the young people a number have reputations for the grace of movement displayed in the "Siva," a dance of a variety of figures made up of graceful posturing, executed to the time of humdrum music and accompanied by singing in high-pitched notes. An experience in which every stranger vis
iting Apia is invited to indulge is a jaunt of about three miles to what is known as Papaaseaa, a sheet of water falling over smooth rocks, where he is introduced to the novelties of a Samoan picnic, which is in reality a day's frolic in the water.
Generally the party is decided upon several days previously, so that an ample supply of refreshments may be prepared and sent ahead early in the morning, cooked in the Samoan fashion, with hot stones, in the ground.
At about 8 o'clock, while the dew is still on the leaves, dusky maidens, resplendent with cocoanut oil and attired in festal wreaths of flowers and bright-colored lava-lava, assemble with the young men and invited guests at the appointed place preparatory to the march. Shouting, laughing, and singing they spring lightly along the path leading to the falls, and as soon as they arrive one after another eagerly jump into the clear cool pool of water at the base of the falls, diving and splashing in the water with screams of laughter and delight that make the valley ring with their enthusiasm. The greatest feat, which, when first attempted, fairly takes the breath away, is to go above the rocks over which the stream rushes, and with three or four seated together, toboggan-fashion, slide over the smooth rock for a distance of eighteen feet at an angle of forty degrees and plunge into the pool below. The sensation produced is indescribable, and can hardly be imagined unless realized. After spending a few hours in the water it is forsaken to partake of dinner, served upon banana leaves for plates, and with fingers