Posted by: monsonmadness | October 9, 2011

White Sunday

Today is white Sunday. You can read about this non-denominational Samoan tradition below. The kids were really excited to get their new white clothes and to wear them to church. We also bought them candy and gave them treats for breakfast. They were over the moon.

Every year in the LDS church, the Primary children put on a presentation for the rest of the church members. Usually it is from ages 3-12. This year in American Samoa, the 18 month-3 year olds are singing “I am a child of God” to open the program, so Mary and Emma get to participate. When we lived in Utah, there was a huge primary with hundreds of children. The programs are always excellent and the spirit is always there as the kids sing and read their parts. But because there are so many children, not every child can have a part, and the Monson kids haven’t had a speaking part for the last 4 years. This year in American Samoa with a smaller primary of only about 60 or 70 kids, there are still not enough speaking parts for every child, but all four of our kids have a speaking part which they have memorized and get to speak at the pulpit to the whole congregation. What a great way to celebrate the children.

This morning, we gathered our kids around us and told them why we loved them so much. We are so blessed to have these wonderful children in our lives. Hooray for White Sunday and an excuse to let our children know how special they are.

White Sunday – Wikipedia definition:

White Sunday is a holiday in Samoa, falling on the second Sunday in October. It is a day for parents and communities to acknowledge and celebrate childhood by hosting special programs during church services which include scriptural recitations (“tauloto”), Biblical story reenactments, and creative dance performances. Children receive gifts (often new clothing and/or school supplies) on White Sunday and are allowed privileges normally reserved for elders, such as being the first to be served food at family meal time.

On White Sunday, Samoan women and children dress completely in white clothing.  Men will wear white shirts with either white slacks or the traditional ‘ie faitaga form of the lavalava. If a lavalava is worn it need not be white.

White Sunday is celebrated by Samoan congregations and families throughout ethnic Samoan expatriate communities.

In the Samoan language the holiday is called “Lotu Tamaiti,” literally “Children’s Service” or “Prayer for Children.”

There are differing opinions in regards to the origin of this holiday. Some believe White Sunday to be a Christian adaptation of an indigenous pre-contact celebration of certain planting and harvesting seasons. Others assert that the holiday coincides with a family celebration that became widespread in the 1920s in commemoration of Samoans who succumbed to the influenza epidemic of 1919; this epidemic, introduced through the ambivalence of the New Zealand colonial administration, took the lives of 1/5 to 1/4 of the Samoan population, many of them children.


  1. What an awesome day!! You do have great kids!

  2. Cool! We need to celebrate the children! I particularly love the white part, because it white has so much symbolism that can be connected with the purity of these kids!

    On a separate note, Hudson says HI to Daniel. He told me yesterday, “Mom, remember when I went to the dinosaur museum with Daniel and his mom, and we did………(about 3 min later)……That was so cool! Can I play with him today?”

    We miss you all!

  3. What a neat tradition. I’m sure church attendance that day looks very celestial.

  4. I think that is a wonderful holiday/tradition!!! by the way….I love your white dress…where’d you get ti?!

    • They sell white clothes everywhere on this island. Most women in other church wear white on Sundays. I saw that dress several months ago and wanted to buy it but resisted. then I went back a few weeks later and bought it to save for Christmas. Then I heard about White Sunday and decided to have my gift early! Merry christmas to me!

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