Alafua Celebrates Don Bosco's Birthday


17 August 2012 | General Interest

Don Bosco's Birthday

Don Bosco Technical Centre, Alafua, commemorated the feast of St John Bosco with two days of celebrations on 16 – 17 August. The founder’s official feast day celebration at the Technical Centre was transferred to Don Bosco’s birthday because 31 January falls in the school holidays.


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On 16 August the school day concluded with a rousing Eucharistic celebration in honour of the Patron of the school. The celebrant, Father Nick, in his homily illustrated the many difficulties young John had in his early years. John did not get these difficulties get in the way of his aspirations. His dream at the age of 9 became his vision for the future. And because of this “Don Bosco” is now present in many countries in the world, not just in buildings, schools, churches, etc, but as an inspiring person, who loves young people dearly.

The next day the celebrations continued. And what better way in Samoa, than to celebrate it with a huge meal! The day, called “culture day”, focussed on the preparation of the midday meal. Organised in four groups the boys competed for the honour of preparing the best meal. They brought taro, taro leaves (to make “palusami” – a delicious mixture of young taro leaves, coconut cream, onions and salt), size 2 pigs, dozens of chicken, coconuts, banana leaves and palm fronds to cover the “umu” (ground oven). Soon the 200+ boys were hustling about their allotted tasks.

The smoke of the cooking fires wafted across the school grounds, together with songs and heaps of laughter. The stones for the umu were heated, chickens plucked and gutted, pigs cleaned and stuffed with palm leaves and other leafy ingredients. Coconuts were husked, scraped and wrung into coconut milk, taro scraped and put into the cooking cauldrons. Food baskets were plaited. Once the stones were hot enough for the umu they were spread out at a frenetic speed – some boys almost doing a fire dance. The food was placed on top of the stones and covered with banana, breadfruit and palm leaves. The waiting times was filled with more singing and laughter.

Then came the time to uncover the food and the feast began! The multitude did not take long to demolish the abundance of food. After all had their fill and the leftovers gathered (not much, mind you!) the winning team was announced, the boys sang “Happy Birthday” to Don Bosco, and they were treated to “chillichoc” ice creams. So ended the festivities!

Rubbing their tummies the boys went home. “It was a good day, because there was plenty of food” is the usual saying in Samoa! And our founder would have been more than pleased because a good time was had by all “in the chapel and the kitchen”.