17 Sep 2008

American Samoa village observes annual 24 hour closure

10:10 am on 17 September 2008

The people of the American Samoan village of Vaitogi began their annual 24 hour curfew at 6 o'clock last night.

The village will not be accessible for 24 hours while it holds a prayer service to commemorate an incident that happened more than a century ago.

As residents tell the story, a fire raged through Vaitogi lands for days and could not be extinguished, threatening the lives of residents and destroying scores of acres of crops and vegetation.

After village chiefs gathered the people together to pray for the fires to stop, heavy rain fell extinguishing the flames.

Since then Vaitogi villagers from near and far have gathered each year to mark the event.

A prayer service is held and there's feasting and entertainment.

Noone will be allowed to enter or leave the village until 6 o'clock this evening.