Lotu

The word Lotu means any kind of religious service, and it is one of the most pleasant times a Samoan family has together. In Samoan villages, Lotu also means family prayers or devotionals. About dusk each day a drum sounds throughout the village to remind the people to go to their homes for Lotu. If a visitor is in the village or just passing through, it would be considered a courtesy to stop and wait quietly during Lotu time. Of course visitors are welcome to join a family for Lotu in its fale (fah-ley) or house. Some villages have members of their aumaga (au-mong-a) or young men’s club stationed along the road in their uniforms during Lotu. They stop cars and ask the drivers to either pull off the road and park or drive slowly and quietly through the village. During Lotu, the sounds of hymns, scriptures, and prayers float out from each fale. Inside, the family circle is surrounded by the glow of the setting sun. After Lotu the little children play games near the fale. The young men and women gather in groups to visit or to plan what they will do the next day. The older people may visit while drowsy little ones drift off to sleep.

[illustration] Illustrated by Dick Brown