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Samoan Princess and Dolphins

December 19, 2011

On Tutuila Island, there’s a legend about the atule (bigeye scad) that appear in Fagasa Bay. Years ago, the Polynesian navigator Liava’a sailed to Tutuila in search of the pure waters of Fagasa. The boat accidently departed while his daughter, Sina, was still ashore collecting fresh water.

When Liava’a realized this later, he became enraged and threw his entire crew into the sea with orders for them to return to Fagasa, find Sina and protect her forever. To expedite their return to Fagasa, the men were transformed into dolphins that then herded a school of atule to shore to make certain all who cared for Sina would be well fed. Sina was adopted by the family of High Chief Lilio in Fagasa Village. Liava’a, however, never gave up his search for Sina and years later they were briefly reunited.

Tradition holds that, upon the death of Liava’a and Sina, their memories were forever preserved in special stones that are protected to this day by HC Lilio who is responsible for all events related to the atule harvest, thereby preserving the village’s continuing appreciation for the generous gift of these fish. The tradition continues. When atule arrive in Fagasa, an ava ceremony is held in appreciation for this bounty. The stones are cleaned and when the time is right, the villagers carry coconut fronds into the water to herd the fish into the shallows where they are collected in enu baskets which are emptied into the ola basket. 

One Comment leave one →
  1. Dorothy Afuvai permalink
    March 31, 2015 12:19 pm

    The picture of the gentlemen gathered on the beach, was that taken in Fagasa? Are the men related to the Alo family. My father just recently passed away & he is from Fagasa. He is from the Alo family.

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