What is Fiafia in Samoa?
Fiafia means “happy” in Samoan, and Samoa’s “fiafia nights” are designed to make you feel just that! These get-togethers are a whirlwind for the senses with cultural food and dancing to energetic beat of the drum and string band. Needless to say, it’s highly recommended that you experience at least one fiafia night during your getaway to Samoa. Luckily, there are plenty to choose from, which we layout in this list of the best cultural shows and fiafia nights in Samoa!
Samoa Fiafia Night Schedule
1. Return to Paradise Resort Fiafia Night – The Best Samoan Fiafia Night
Although out of the way for outside guests, Return to Paradise Resort makes sure that in-house guests are well-entertained throughout the week at this remote resort. Their Wednesday night Fiafia Nights is a Samoan affair with local dancing performed by the resort’s talented family and staff. Before the show, you’ll be treated to sumptuous Polynesian cuisine at the buffet. With good food and entertaining dancing, it all culminates in a spectacular fire knife (siva afi) performance! If you miss the fiafia night, don’t worry, as the Saturday night Maeva String Band and Culture Show with an international buffet is an excellent alternative.
Location: Return to Paradise Resort, Lefaga village, Matautu, southwest coast of Upolu.
2. Le Manumea Hotel Island Night – The Best Pacifika Fiafia Night in Samoa
Don’t just experience Samoa’s traditional moves but dances from across the Pacific at the Thursday night Le Manumea Hotel Island Night. Following the typical fiafia format, you’ll be treated to a Polynesian-style buffet before sitting down to a captivating show with dances incorporated from the islands of Hawaii, the Cook Islands, Tahiti and more. That’s not to say there’s no Samoan flavour in the mix, with traditional Samoan dances, ‘ava ceremony and coconut demonstrations also included. As for the finale, be wowed by the epic siva afi fire dance! What’s more, Le Manumea has some of the best drink offers on the islands with a happy hour that lasts all day long! Book your island night at Le Manumea on Viator.
Location: Le Manumea Hotel, Cross Island Road, Vailima, Apia.
3. Samoa Tradition Resort Fiafia Night – The Best Value Fiafia Night in Samoa
Outstanding value and a fabulous journey across the dancing styles of the Pacific, no wonder Samoa Tradition Resort’s Fiafia Night is the most popular among the locals. For a much more affordable price than other island nights on this list (and cheaper still if you’re staying at the resort), the night begins with an ‘ava welcoming ceremony in true Samoan fashion. Then, it’s onto the buffet with a mix of Samoan and international staples. Once your stomach is happy, digest while watching the captivating ensemble of dances from Samoa, New Zealand, French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Hawaii and Fiji! The grand finale has siva afi dancers of all ages putting on a masterful fire dancing show. Catch the fiafia night every Thursday from 7 pm.
Location: Samoa Tradition Resort, Ululoloa Heights, Apia.
4. Taumeasina Island Resort Fiafia Night – The Most Popular Fiafia Night in Samoa
So easy to get to and at Samoa’s largest resort, no less, you can bet that Taumeasina Island Resort‘s Fiafia Night is one of the most popular on the island for international visitors. Each Saturday at the resort’s pool bar and restaurant, the venue comes alive with a Samoan ‘ava ceremony, song, dance and mesmerising siva afi fire dancing! There’s even some audience participation, so watch out! The experience also, of course, includes an irresistible array of well-presented local cuisine at the buffet.
Location: Taumeasina Island Resort, Taumeasina Road, Taumeasina, Apia.
5. Ailao Club Dinner and Fiafia Night – The Best Fire Dancing Show in Samoa
Samoa’s own siva afi fire dancing club, Ailao Club, puts on its own Dinner and Fiafia Night everything Tuesday evening. Although the dinner and show from 7:30 pm is a joy to watch some of the country’s best siva afi performers working their fire magic, you can even show up earlier to their 5 pm siva afi workshop to learn a few moves yourself. The same participants of the workshop can feature in the show later that same evening. The show is open for a buffet dinner from 7:30 pm, or you can just join in for the show from 8:30 pm: no pressure. The Ailao Club is also responsible for the annual International Siva Afi Competition, which you can learn more about in The Top Events & Festivals in Samoa.
Location: Siva Afi Sewing Centre, Matautu-Tai (opposite the Marina), Apia.
6. Samoa Cultural Village Cultural Show – The Best Daytime Cultural Show in Samoa
Not exactly a fiafia “night” per se, as this cultural experience takes place from 10:30 am each morning from Tuesday to Friday, but the cultural demonstrations and performances are reminiscent of your standard fiafia night. What’s more, it’s free! The Samoa Cultural Village experience starts with a hands-on weaving workshop where you’ll make your own plate for the umu. You’ll then be formally welcomed with an ‘ava ceremony before seeing how a traditional umu feast is prepared. While your lunch is cooking, discover how ‘ava bowls are carved and even witness a painstaking Samoan tatau (tattoo) being applied in the traditional way. Finally, sit down with your freshly prepared umu lunch while watching a fiafia cultural performance including fire dancing.
Location: Behind the Samoa Tourism Information Centre, Beach Road, Apia.
7. Sails Restaurant Live Polynesian Show – The Best Restaurant Fiafia Night
Friday night is Polynesian Night at the Sails Restaurant & Bar. Overlooking the placid waters of the Apia Harbour from the far end of the Mulinuu Peninsula, Sails offers an attractive locale in Apia for a night of Polynesian food, song and dance. Indulge in South Pacific-inspired cuisine from the buffet as you watch the sun go down. Once night falls (or, at around 8 pm, whichever comes first), the drums begin to beat and the dancers perform on the waterfront deck with a number of dances from across the South Pacific Islands, along with the all-essential siva afi fire performance!
Location: Sails Restaurant, Mulinuu Road, Mulinuu Peninsula, Apia.
9. Le Lagoto Resort Fiafia Night – The Best Fiafia Night on Savai’i
Open to resort guests and non-guests alike, Le Lagoto Resort‘s Thursday fiafia nights are well worth booking. Indulge in slow-roasted pork, fish and vegetables cooked in an umu, as well as other local delicacies like oka, faiai fe’e, taro and luau (not forgetting some dessert). Then let your food digest while watching traditional and contemporary Polynesian dancing from the local fiafia group! Le Lagoto Resort’s fiafia nights take place on Thursdays only if there are enough bookings for the event, so be sure to call ahead.
Location: Le Lagoto Resort, North Coast Road, Fagamalo, northeast coast of Savai’i.
10. Beach Fale Fiafia Nights
One of the final locations you are to perhaps experience a fiafia night in Samoa is at a beach fale accommodation. In true beach fale style, fiafia nights are more likely to be impromptu, making for an awesome surprise if you happen to be at the right place at the right time. However, some beach fales have been known in the past to host weekly fiafia nights and could well schedule some in the future – such establishments have been Taufua Beach Fales, Faofao Beach Fales and Manusina Beach Fales on Upolu and Tanu Beach Fales on Savai’i – so keep an eye on Samoa Tourism’s Fiafia Night and Weekly Events pages for scheduled beach fale fiafia nights.
Location: All over Samoa! Check out the 20 Best Beach Fale Accommodations in Samoa for more information on the fales listed above.
More About Cultural Shows and Fiafia Nights in Samoa
That’s it for our list of the best cultural shows and fiafia nights in Samoa! For more about experiencing the Samoa culture, take a look at these:
- 10 Best Cultural Activities in Samoa
- How to Have an Authentic Samoan Experience
- Samoan Etiquette: Samoa Customs & Traditions
Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in A Traveller’s Guide to the Samoan Culture.