Tafesilafa'i means to meet face to face. This festival is an opportunity for the Pacific Islander Community to come together, to meet face to face and to exchange stories, ideas, resources, break bread or just be with one another. The festival began in 1997, attended by just a hundred guests. Over the years we have featured over 250 youth groups, partnered with 450+ unique sponsors/vendors and entertained over 365,000 guests – face to face. We have had over 70 leaders speak during the Festival on 18 different themes designed to get Culture to dialogue with Theology.
What can we expect from Tafesilafa'i Festival?
The youth groups participating can expect to come away first, with a sense of accomplishment. The long hours spent practicing their pieces, honing their crafts and putting up with others is celebrated after their performance is completed. The second sense of affirmation is that of diversity. Even within seemingly homogenous cultures there are subtle differences and nuances to be respected and paid attention to. The Festival promises to showcase the idea that it is our diversity that makes the Island Nations resilient and strong. And finally the Festival is an affirmation of their storied past. It is an embracement of who they are, where they are from and to whom they belong. I belong, therefore I am.
Many young people run from their past. However, Tafesilafa'i promise to create space so each person's past is affirmed and celebrated. Once they embrace who they are, then they will know to embrace who others are. Once we tolerate and affirm each other, then the future opens up to what God wishes for our community. This year's theme, "Lou Tuao'i: Love Your Neighbor", is a hint as to what that divine mandate may be.
Spectators will come away with a sense of identification with the Pacific Islander community, and more important, a sense of identification with the larger inclusive faith community. I do belong here!
The vendors and sponsors, in addition to economic fulfilment, will have participated in the only faith-based Pacific Islander Festival in Southern California. It was worth the investment!
All will definitely come away exhausted, tanned and blessed because they have fellowshipped with others.
The Tafesilafa'i Festival offers many benefits for Long Beach, culturally and economically. The festival brings the Pacific Islander community together for four days every year providing an excellent way of introducing Pacific Islander culture to all people in the
Greater Long Beach area. Tafesilafa'i: Culture informed by Theology.