Marcellin College

Fa’a Samoa: The Samoan Way

Fa’aloalo ( Respect)

by Angeline

In the Samoan culture there are certain rules which have to be obeyed. These certain rules fall under these main concepts:



Discipline is one concept, which plays a huge role in the Samoan culture. In every family discipline has been considered a form of control.


The Matai decides who is responsible for what. The Matai controls the responsibilities of the village people and in some cases the roles of families.


Hospitality in the Samoan culture is really important. When visitors come it is the custom that we offer our service. Offerings such as, shelter, food and money have been a form of hospitality throughout time. Service in the Samoan culture has always been considered important. The roles of service are normally given to a young Samoan girl.

RESPECT (Fa'aloalo)

Some examples of respect in the Samoan culture are how our young people address their elders. A polite way is used to address anyone older or anyone with a special role in a family or in a village. Males are not allowed to talk to any female in an inappropriate manner also. So the tone of voice is very important.

Another example of how respect is shown is how young Samoan females are told to cover up. Young Samoan females are not allowed to wear shorts, pants or anything exposing themselves in public places. This is seen as very disrespectful. Other rules, which fall under respect, are not so complicated. These include removing your shoes before entering someone’s house, walking behind a person instead of in front of them, letting the adults eat first before the younger people eat, being well mannered and not answering back to your parents and to your elders.