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A TRADITIONAL WEDDING IN SAMOA
AN OLD CHIEF'S MARRIAGE TO A YOUNG MAID OF APIA
Correspondence of the San Francisco Chronicle


APIA, Samoa,-We have had a social sensation recently in the way of a great Samoan wedding. For months past a leading chief of Falefa, in the Atua district, has been courting the village maid of Apia, Moe, daughter of Seumanutafa, High Chief of Apia, and the new Governor of the Tuamasaga district. And as the chief is an old man and Moe is about 19, it has required the most strenuous efforts of both families to bring about the match.

The Falefa family have brought to Apia over 300 pigs, killed and cooked, and distributed them among the young lady's relations. In return for these, the family of the expected bride must give fine mats, siapas, &c., and they have been busily engaged collecting them from all over the islands till the Governor's house is half full. These mats are the most valuable property of the Samoans, and are given at weddings as more substantial presents are at home. They are the heirlooms of families for generations, and are justly prized, as it requires years to make one of them. Some of them are valued as high as $1,000 apiece. Many of them are fringed with red feathers, and are almost as soft as silk.

A vast deal of ceremony is connected with these weddings. Yesterday all the maidens from Falefa went in a procession to the Governor's house, each one carrying a stick with a bunch of red feathers suspended from the end. These feathers are very rare nowadays, and are much prized for mat trimmings, &c. All the town fales (native houses) are filled with visitors.

At the wedding some member of the Government reads a chapter from the Bible, and then reads a ceremony. The couple being married are seated all the time and join hands toward the close of the ceremony, as in more civilized countries. In this instance the young lady is well and widely known, and is a favorite with the officers of the war-ships of all nations. She is amiable and interesting. But as a rule, Samoan girls have very little to do with the choice of a husband. That is generally arranged by the heads of the families, and from interested motives.

When the Governor was asked why he did not marry Moe to a young chief, he replied that if she did not like her old husband she could run away from him, and it would be no disgrace, while a young husband might take a fancy for another wife, and it would be a shame to the family to have him leave her.

A young chief generally has wives or concubines all over the islands. Through them he becomes allied to numerous leading families, and acquires extended influence, and when he falls out with one family he goes to another and finds a wife awaiting him.

Native dances are taking place nightly and are a part of the wedding festivities. All the young dandies appear on the stage at such a time, and display their fine, manly figures. Also, the leading maidens of different villages assemble on the scene. Their costume is the primitive garb of Eve, and their figures such as might have been seen in Sparta