Vave: Fast Like a Bird


Coloring Image


Vave: Fast Like a Bird

O le tasi aitu na tapua’i i ai Samoa i aso anamua, o Vave lea, auā ua masani o ia i le faiva o tau. Sa matuā masani ia ma mea uma e aogā i le taua. Na fa’aaloalo lava Samoa i lenei sauali’i ina ia i’u i se manuia le taua na latou fa’asaga i ai. O latou taofi, e manumālō lava le itūtaua ua puipuia ma ta’ita’iina e le sauali’i o Vave.

O le aitu e pei o se agaga. E le mafai ona tatou va’ai iai i o tatou mata. O le mea lea e tino mai le aitu i le ata o se manu, po’o se i’a. O le aitu lenei o Vave, na tino mai pea ia i le ata o le manuali’i, a’o lona leo o le leo fo’i o le manuali’i. A fai la ua vāaia lea manu o lele ane, ona fiafia ai lea o le itūtaua, auā ua latou lagona ifo, o le a manumālō ina ua afio mai Vave na te au ia te’i latou. E amata i lea itūlā, ua mālamalama lava le ta’ita’i au i le amio a le manuali’i. E fa’apea: A fai e lele atu le manuali’i i luma o le vaegā’au ma tagi ma toe fo’i mai ma toe fo’i atu, ona fiafia ai lea o le ta’ita’i atoa ma lana au, auā o le amio lea a le manuali’i e iloa ai e’i latou uma o le a manumālō la latou itutaua. Ae a fai e lele atu le manuali’i i tua o le vaegā’au ma ua le toe fo’i mai, ona tupu ai lea o le fefe ma le atuatuvale o na tagata uma. E vaivai ai fo’i i latou ina ua iloa o le a i’u le taua i se mālaia.

A e le gata i a Vave na tapua’i ai Samoa i po o taua, a ua tofu lava nu’u ta’itasi ma le aitu na latou sulufa’i i ai, ae maise i aso faigatā. E fa’apea ona faia Moso mo aitu o se tasi nu’u, Lefanoga o le tasi, Nifoloa o le tasi, Nafanua le afafine o Saveasi’uleo, o le tasi nu’u. O vave, o le sulufaga lea o le tasi nu’u i Tutuila. Na tino mai lenei aitu i se tasi ma’a ua igoa o Vave. Te’i ane, ua soso’oina na upu e lua ua avea ma igoa o le nu’u o Amanave.

O tagata Tuamasaga sa latou tapua’i le fe’e. Sa latou ati a’e se mālumalu mo ia ua gaosia i pou ma’a. O iai pea i nei onapō ni isi o na ma’a ua ta’atitia i ga uta i tafatafa o Vaisigano. Na ta’ua lea malumalu o le “Falema’a o le Fe’e”. O le tānoa tele ua igoa o le Lipi, o le ata lea o lenei aitu. I pō o taua, na si’omia ma teuteuina lenei Lipi, o le ata lea o lenei aitu. I pō o taua, na si’omia ma teuteuina lenei Lipi i pule sisina e fa’aaloalo ai i le sauali’i. I le, ua faia e le taulāitu lana tatalo e fa’apea:

“Le Fe’e e, fa’afofoga mai ia,

O a’u o Pai o le a tūla’i atu nei.

Se’i tau a’i le taua lenei.”


Coloring Image



Vave: Fast Like a Bird

Vave is a god who was born within and from a stone in Tutuila, perhaps located in the village of Amanave. “Vave” means “swift” or “quickly.” It is thought that Vave first came as a spirit from Tonga, and that, since being a spirit, Vave could take many forms. Since a spirit cannot be seen with the eyes, in this story, Vave is made manifest and incarnate as the Manuali’i, or the Bird of the Chiefs. This illustration is a representation of that bird as shown in the book entitled, “South Pacific Birds,” John E. Dupont, Delaware Museum of Natural History, 1976. No doubt this image, with its biological certitude, inspired the illustrator Dotsy.

Vave, like many spirits, could change forms, mostly as an animal or perhaps a fish. Here Vave is said to appear and sound like the Manuali’i bird. Vave also carries the powers of prophecy, with the most important power of predicting the outcome of war. The flight of the bird would be a sign of either grievous loss of great victory, which the leaders watched carefully. If the bird flew in front or alongside the army, returned, and then flew back ahead again, victory was predicted; if it flew behind the army, and did not return, this predicted a disastrous end, and all of the fears and anxieties of the warriors and people would increase, weakening the forces even further. In other versions, Vave personally guided the battle; wherever Vave flew the warriors followed.

In this account, Samoa did not only worship gods of war, but had many gods unique to almost each and every circumstance of difficulty; they had gods of refuge and safety. Here are mentioned Moso, who appears as scented flowers, shells, also as a bird, and even as a bowl; Lefanoga, the god of giants, Nifoloa, (Long Tooth) a god of taboo associated with diseases, and the legendary Nafanua, the afafine war goddess of Savai’i. The Falema’a of Fe’e, the stone house of the goddess of war Fe’e who takes the form of a giant octopus, is also mentioned. Vave was best known as the protector of one of the villages in Tutuila, who was manifest as a rock.  Later, the two words were combined and the village name became Amanave.  The cultural concept is basic and fundamental: spirits are everywhere in different forms determining the outcome of events at the most basic level throughout one’s most important days.

The people of Tuamasaga worshipped the octopus, building a temple out of rocks for him, named “The Fe’e’s House of Rocks.”  The large tanoa was named the Lipi symbolizing the aitu.  It was decorated in times of war with white cowrie shells to show respect for this sauali’i.  Accordingly, this was the taulaitu’s prayer:

“Le Fe’e e, fa’afofoga mai ia, (Oh! octopus hear me now,)

‘O a ‘u o Pai o le ‘a tula’i atu nei (I am Pai and will stand forward now)

Se ‘i tau a ‘i le taua lenei.” (To fight in this battle.)

Note:  The following explanatory comment about the Fe’e’s House of Rocks is taken from The Project Gutenberg Book of “Samoa, a Hundred Years Ago and Long Before,” by George Turner:

“Another fragment makes out that a Savai’i Fe’e married the daughter of a Chief at Upole, who, for convenience in coming and going, made a hole in the reef, and hence created the harbour at Apia.  He went up the river also at that place and built a stone house inland, the “Stonehenge” relics of which are still pointed out and named to this day the House of Fe’e.”  In time of war he sent a branch drifting down the river as a good omen, and a sign to the people that they might go on with the war, sure  of driving out the enemy.”

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