I have been meaning to post on this for sometime now because it is certainly something that makes newcomers look twice. Samoans traditionally bury their family members on their own land, the result is a grave site/yard in front of the majority of homes here. The tombs range widely from single plots to huge structures containing many remains. The grave sites are viewed and treated differently than in the mainland U.S.. While it is generally considered disrespectful to walk over a grave it the States, here it is normal to see people sitting, playing or even hanging laundry on the graves.... I have even seen a chess board embedded in one tomb. This is difference is derived from the view that having deceased love ones nearby keeps their spirit with the family. It is out of love and familiarity that the tombs are part of everyday activities, this keeps the deceased with the family in spirit.
Occasionally Village Chiefs will not allow burials nearby houses and establish central burial, but this is uncommon. Samoans want the close burials so they can remain with the family. Until somewhat recently tombs with roofs and structures around them were reserved for Chiefs, but not they are commonly used and can be quiet large.
Some very large traditional structures contain many remains. I was told that in these cases old remains are relocated during a ceremony and placed in cloth before placement. This conserves space.
Some older homes have many individual graves.
New homes incorporate the tombs into the landscape.
And what likely stands out most to newcomers is that many tombs are located in very common areas.
NOAH NEWS: Noah's favorite movie for sometime now has been "Planes", this has now lead to his new favorite music being AC/DC. It is common place for him to be roaming the house singing "Thunderstruck" imitating the high pitch squeal of Brian Johnson.... it is very suiting to his energetic personality!
The Jaskowiak Family
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