Festivities for Don Bosco's Birthday


23 August 2013 | General Interest

A Day of Fun for Don Bosco


The celebration of Don Bosco’s birthday, an annual feast day, was a week late this year at Don Bosco Technical Centre, Alafua, but the festivities lacked nothing. The “Champ of Champs” Athletics Carnival was scheduled for 16 August, Don Bosco’s birthday, and, for the first time ever four students from Don Bosco Technical Centre were competing. Hence, the feast day was held the following week.

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The day began with a beautifully prepared, exceptionally prayerful Mass, celebrated by the Rector, Fr Nicholas Castelyns. The Open Fale (Hall) had been converted into a sacred space with woven mats marking out the sanctuary area and a backdrop of siapo (bark cloth embellished with designs having great cultural significance). The boys had rehearsed their singing during the week and sang during the Mass with full voice and full heart. A highlight of the Mass was the Procession of the Word during which the Bible was processed to the front of the sacred space accompanied by song, candles and flowers. The beauty of the Mass was equally evident in the joyous singing and in the moments of prayerful silence.

There was nothing silent about the next phase of the day – a “funny games” competition organised in houses. The field at the centre of the Don Bosco compound was filled with joy, laughter, cheering, singing and dancing – you’d have to describe it as a “riot of fun”. Samoans have the wonderful gift of being able to enjoy the simple pleasures of life with great ease and so an egg and spoon race, a tug-a-war contest, a flag relay, a sack race, musical chairs or other such games are eagerly embraced, the source of fierce but good hearted competition, and often times moments of great hilarity. The organising committee had the games so well prepared that two hours of non-stop activity past without anyone knowing and leaving everyone wanting more.

Like any Samoan celebration, the day is never complete without food, which the teams had prepared in abundance. And to complete the day was the boys’ favourite treat: chilli choc ice-creams.

Don Bosco himself, whose birthday we were celebrating, would have been exceptionally pleased with the day because it was composed of a balanced mix of prayer, community, fun activities and good food … and all in a spirit of joy that was itself of hymn of praise to God for the gift of our Father and Founder, Don Bosco.