Samoan Culture Takes Center Stage in Hawaii this Week
– Prestigious World Fireknife Championships Highlights “We Are Samoa” Festival at Polynesian Cultural Center, May 7-10 –
Laie, Hawaii – May 6, 2014 – We Are Samoa! The phrase captures the pride and spirit of the popular Hawaii festival celebrating the cultural heritage of Samoa’s people this week at the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC), May 7-10.
Hawaii’s largest Samoan cultural festival and a pre-eminent showcase of Samoa’s traditions, the We Are Samoa Festival is highlighted by the exhilarating World Fireknife Championships and inspiring High School Samoan Cultural Arts Festival.
“We celebrate Samoa’s legacy for our guests each day at the Polynesian Cultural Center, but the We Are Samoa Festival is an opportunity each year to broaden the spotlight on its friendly people, fascinating arts, and beautiful culture,” said Logo Apelu, PCC Chief Operating Officer.
“The World Fireknife Championships is a riveting competition and encompasses everything that makes the Samoan culture so dynamic and captivating. It combines skill, strength, artistry, and fearlessness. There is no other competition like it in the world.”
Samoa is one of PCC’s six authentic island villages, the others being Hawaii, Tahiti, Tonga, Fiji, and Aotearoa (New Zealand), that celebrate the native culture and people of its heritage amidst the Center’s 42 lushly landscaped acres. At each village, guests are immersed in fun and engaging presentations, exhibits, and hands-on activities.
The Samoa village has historically been one of PCC’s most popular daily attractions for visitors, who take great enjoyment in an entertainment program that’s both funny and exciting, including tree climbing, coconut husking, and fire-making demonstrations.
World Fireknife Championships, May 7-10
The roots of fireknife dancing come from the traditional Samoan ailao, a warrior’s knife dance, performed before battle with the nifo oti, or “tooth of death.”
PCC established the World Fireknife Championships to showcase this treasured Samoan tradition and perpetuate it for future generations to embrace.
Now in its 22nd year, the World Fireknife Championships brings together competitors of different ages and skill levels, led by the elite Senior Division, which attracts the world’s top fireknife dancers. In addition to Hawaii and the Pacific, this year’s competitors come from California, Florida, Japan, and Hong Kong. They will perform their amazing fireknife dancing skills and techniques, twirling one, two and, sometimes, three flaming fireknives to a choreographed routine.
Up-and-coming performers learning to master the fiery art, including some as young as six years old, are competing in junior divisions. There will also be an entertaining group competition featuring choreography by teams, including a women’s group of fireknife dancers. For information on the schedule, competitors, and tickets, please visit www.worldfireknife.com.
The PCC will livestream all four nights of the World Fireknife Championships online at http://new.livestream.com/polynesia-live-event.
High School Samoan Cultural Arts Festival, May 10
Perpetuating the Samoan culture and encouraging goodwill among teens is the objective of the High School Samoan Cultural Arts Festival.
Hundreds of high school students from Oahu demonstrate their knowledge of Samoan culture by competing in a series of traditional Samoan practices and life skills. This includes protocol and speech making, basket weaving, coconut husking and fire making, costuming, poise, dance movements, and interpretation.
The experience is fun, enlightening and helps strengthen bonds between the participants, both amongst each other and in understanding the roots of their culture.
The PCC will livestream the High School Samoan Cultural Arts Festival online at http://new.livestream.com/polynesia-live-event.
For more information or to make reservations, call the box office at (800) 367-7060 or visit www.polynesia.com. In Hawaii, call (808) 293-3333.
About the Polynesian Cultural Center
Located on Oahu’s beautiful North Shore, the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) is the only cultural tourist attraction of its kind in the world and a favorite of all visitors to Hawaii. An engaging, interactive celebration showcasing the people, culture, arts and crafts of Polynesia, the PCC has entertained more than 37 million visitors from around the world in its first 50 years (1963-2013). A non-profit organization, 100 percent of PCC’s revenue goes to daily operations and to support the education of its student-employees from neighboring Brigham Young University-Hawaii.