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Social Conventions
Even more than their American Samoan neighbours, Samoans adhere to traditional moral and religious codes of behaviour. According to the Government, the Samoan is the purest surviving Polynesian type, with a reputation for being upright and dignified in character.

Life in each village is still regulated by a council of chiefs with considerable financial and territorial power; this 'extended family' social system is intricately and unusually linked with the overall political system. Visitors should avoid walking through villages during evening prayer (usually between 1800 and 1900).

Sunday is a day of peace and quiet, and visitors should behave quietly and travel slowly through villages. It is recommended for women to wear a lavalava (sarong) rather than shorts and pants; nude or topless bathing is prohibited.

When entering a fale, shoes should be removed, visitors should never stand when elders are seated, and when sitting down, the soles of your feet should not be shown (the yogic cross-legged style is a good option). Permission should always be asked before taking photographs in a village. Visitors should not offer money to children, even when they ask.

Picture: Lavalava shop in Apia