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Samoa now leads liturgical world

Samoans went to sleep last night on Thursday, 29 December, the 5th day of Christmas. But they woke up this morning on Saturday, 31 December, the 7th day of Christmas.

In 1892 they switched to be on the American side of the date line as they did most of their trading with the US and Europe. Now the focus of trade is with Australia and NZ and so it makes sense to be in synch with the working week here and they decided to switch back. The suggestion came from Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Lupesoliai Malielegaoi, who also, in 2009, successfully steered the change from driving on the right hand side of the road to driving on the left.

Samoa is one hour ahead of NZ. It used to be a day behind. I regularly make much of the round of the world’s liturgical celebrations starting in NZ. I suspect I will continue to do so – but niggling in the back of my head, and in an imagined footnote when I do so, is the realisation that Christians in Samoa will now have an hour’s head start on us.

ps. In all the many changes to the calendar system over the centuries the 7 day week sequence has been unbroken for millennia. I can imagine in some places, if the date was moved in this manner, the insistence that worship now move from Sunday to “Monday” (or Saturday to “Sunday”). [Update: see Vincent’s comment below that there is now a division in SDAs – those who have followed the 7 day sequence, and those who have stuck to the day named of the week].

pps. In Samoa, employers will have to pay employees for the 30th as if it had existed!

ppps. Tokelau – three atolls and home to 1200 New Zealanders north of Samoa – has also jumped across the Dateline because its administrative headquarters is in Apia.

pppps. The prime minister is now working on his next scheme – dumping Samoa’s colonial era flag that was a “gift” from New Zealand.

ppppps. Falealupo in Samoa used to be the last village on earth to see the end of a day, now that honour will go to Palagi Beach (palagi is Samoan for pakeha) at the western end of Tutuila in American Samoa.

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7 thoughts on “Samoa now leads liturgical world”

    1. Thanks for your comment, Roland. I am not sure what you mean by “the Liturgy resource center”. There is no “centre” attached to this website – are you looking for a physical place? Blessings.

    1. I have added your email address to my list, Roland. I am very irregular in sending out emails – it is an area of this site that I am planning on improving. I suggest you also sign up to the RSS feed, and please consider becoming part of the facebook page. Even then, this website has recently been significantly upgraded – and part of that will mean that there will be more resources on this Liturgy home page than any of those sources will announce. The idea is that people come back regularly to this page where there will always be something new to discover. Thanks for your visit. Blessings.

  1. This article may interest you Bosco: http://www.voxy.co.nz/national/two-sabbaths-samoas-seventh-day-adventists/5/111576

    It details the response of the seventh-day adventists in Samoa to the change – with some sticking with the new Saturday and some keeping to the old one (the new Sunday).

    The interesting consequence for those who are ‘staying with the day’ (e.g. now worshipping on Sunday) is that congregations on both sides of them (eastward and westward) worship on Saturday… leaving them quite alone.

      1. You’re welcome 🙂 I wonder how the pressure to keep or drop the Saturday distinctive influenced the SDA on both sides of the split. Saturday services are both a major identifying factor of SDAs, as well as a very visible symbol of separation from other denominations.

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