edocki.info). “Tongans are strongly influenced by their culture, traditions, religion and whatever changes experienced by absolute kings (Tu'i Tonga) date back to Ahoeitu in the 10th century Today, Tonga's population has remained at around , people ( UNDP, ). since the Second World War and more particularly since the present monarch,. Tupou IV's aspects of change throughout the Pacific. I want early date soon after the missionaries commenced their labours in Tonga in the. s. . presenting the traditional gifts of mats and ngatu (decorated tapa cloth) explained . Keep up-to-date with the ever changing islands of Tonga. anga fakatonga, the traditional Tongan way, and anga fakapalangi, the Western way. The suitors sat in a circle around the bowl, chatting, bragging, arguing, and . gifts to visiting Allied military personnel during World War II. also used for canoe.
Culture of Tonga - Wikipedia
In a traditional Tongan family, the father is considered to be the head of the family, and the mother his subordinate . It is the opposite when it comes to brothers and sisters who are close in age. Brothers are subordinate to their sisters.
Children are regarded as not owned by their parents; they belong to the whole family. It is not unusual for a child to live in several households. It is a terrible insult to decline such offers, which may include fruit, tapa cloth, or handicrafts. Mat weaving is a huge tradition in Tonga. Many woman gather round to weave mats and talk.
Mats are traditionally given at births, weddings, funerals, and other special occasions. Tongans also wear mats around their waist and those are handed down from generation to generation, some dating back hundreds of years. The two biggest occasions for Tongans are weddings and funerals, where traditional tapa cloths and woven mats are given as gifts . Tongan dance is also a spectacle that demands the involvement of spectators, and a gift of appreciation or fakapale fah-kah-pale-lay is a local tradition to reward a dancer .
Traditional Tongan dances tell about the history of Tongan history and legends. Most Tongan dancers traditionally wear a headpiece tekiteki tek-ee-tek-eewhich enhances the head and is considered one of the most important actions in Tongan dance.
Other common Tongan traditions include, tattoos, feasts, handicrafts, and drinking kava. In total there are 16 official churches running and operating in Tonga . A group of Free Wesleyan Church missionaries arrived in and converted even more Tongans to Christianity. Many Christian ideals were already valued by the Tongan people, such as Scripture study, honesty, and purity .
The Sabbath day is strictly observed in Tonga. Even Seven Day Adventists, who originally consider Saturday and the holy day, observe Sunday as their day of rest . Sabbath day observance is even in the Tongan constitution. Each Tongan clan also had a spirit animal and if a can member killed and ate their spirit animal it was believed to bring bad luck upon him . For example, many clan members still observe their clan animals.
Sense of Self and Space Understanding Tongan sense of self and space is crucial to understanding the Tongan people. They will often shout at each other from across the yard or from the doorway of your house.
An arms length away is usually what is expected and opposite sex physical interaction in public is looked down upon. In fact, there is often little to no touching during talking, unless it among a group of close friends of the same sex. Tongan ancestry plays a huge role in their sense of self. Things Tongan ancestors did or believed in often carry down to the younger generations.
Spirituality is a huge part of Tongan culture. How a Tonga is spiritually will often show who they are as a person. The social status of a Tongan also plays a huge role in their sense of themselves.
They are able to see themselves and who they are in relation to others and their past. Tongan is the first language and is used in informal and day-today communication. English is taught in school as a second language and is used mostly for business . Tongan Greeting In formal settings and among adults and the elderly, Tongans greet each other by approaching each other as if they are going in for a hug but instead of hugging each other they put the sides of their heads next to each other and take a deep breath, not because they are actually trying to smell the other person, but because it is their custom .
Less formal greeting includes handshakes and nods of acknowledgement . Body language communication A vast amount of Tongan communication is done through body and facial expressions. Same sex physical contact is not uncommon. Often boys will be seen holding hands and girls will play with each other hair and hold hands. Men will even give each other massages. When measuring showing measurements of length, Tongans measure from the tip of their fingers and up their arm using the opposite hand.
Holding both hands out wide or using fingers to show length is considered rude . It is not uncommon to have conversations yelled from a door way or across the yard . In Tonga there is a very clear form of hierarchy. There is usually no direct eye contact between people of different ranks. For example, students will look at the floor instead of the teacher when answering questions .
Consequently, many Tongan islanders have an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and other obesity related diseases, which place the nation's health service under considerable strain.
Kava is only drunk by men but served by females. A common food that many Tongans eat a large quantity of is the topai toe-pay doughboysflour and water made into a paste then dropped into boiling water, then served with a syrup of sugar and coconut milk.
Topai is often served as a funeral food to the mourners. Divorce theoretically became formal, and difficult, though this may have only slightly discouraged informal separations and subsequent common-law unions. With the waning of missionary influence, urban youngsters are now experimenting with dances and dating, the later Western imports.
Mahus are now known as "fakaleiti" and are celebrated in the Miss Galaxy Pageant, which claims princess Lupepau? There is said to be some prostitution in urban areas now, particularly areas with frequent Western visitors Nuku? Sex education is discouraged by the church; encouraged with limited success by the Ministry of Health.
There are a few cases of AIDS in the kingdom, but Tonga's relative isolation has prevented the disease from becoming the scourge that it has been in other countries. Rank and status All Polynesian cultures are strongly stratified, ranging from somewhat less to even more. Tongan culture is no exception, and despite almost two centuries of western influence, it is, together with Ha? In former times the king tu?
Below him were the high chiefs hou? Below them the lower chiefs fototehina. Below them the working chiefs matapulein fact attendants to the chiefs to which they belonged, providing services to them, like fishing, tax collection, kavamixing, undertaking and protocol keeping. Below them the ordinary people tu? Below them, or maybe more or less on the same level, the slaves, prisoners of war popula.
In the modern context, the king remains in this position and has the final executive power of government. The high chiefs are now limited to 33 titles and called nobles nopelebut some nobles carry more than one title.
They are still estate holders, and as such have some influence, but they are not the government although many of them are high ranking civil servants. The lower chiefs have disappeared and the word fototehina now means 'brothers'.
The matapule have also largely disappeared except those who keep the protocol and serve as official spokesmen for the king and nobles.
And also the royal undertaker, Lauaki. Tax collection is a task for the central government only. Slavery is abolished, since the emancipation ofand all other people are just the 'commoners'. The worldly power described above can be called status.
A Tongan obtains his status from his father or sometimes uncle, but always through the male line. He inherits his noble or matapule title from his father. The crownprince will succeed his father.
Land ownership is only inherited through the father. However, status as such does not place you in society; this is based on rank. A Tongan obtains his rank from his mother, and that determines his place in the social order. Within the family the rank of women is higher than that of men. Likewise the elder sister of a king, if he has one, has a higher blood rank the king himself. This was the so called Tamaha, holy child, in pre-European times.
In practice high rank and high status always go together because no high ranking woman would ever marry a commoner, and no chief would ever marry a low ranking woman. In fact when prince? Children from that marriage, grandchildren of the king, would have obtained no significant rank.
Albeit later, after a divorce,? Alai was reconciled with his father and married princess Alaileula from Samoa. He did not however become prince again and died in with only the noble title Ma?
Rank and status are fixed from birth. There is no way in Tongan society to climb up in rank. A low ranking chief will always remain the lesser of a high ranking chief, even though his lands may be bigger and richer and so forth.
But he can try to marry a high ranking woman, for instance if she is interested in his rich lands, and so increase the rank of his children. Status on the other hand, although usually fixed too, can have some vertical movement. The second son of a noble, normally not in line for his father's title, may get it after all if his older brother dies prematurely. In addition to this sometimes, but very rarely, the king may elevate some person to high status. By the time of the first European contact in late s and early s, the empire had collapsed, and the authority of the Tu'i Tonga was restricted mostly to the religious realm.
King George Tupou I, the first king of modern Tonga, introduced the constitution in after unifying the four island groups. He had previously converted to Christianity and opportunistically waged expansionist wars from Ha'apai to Vava'u and then to Tongatapu. Christian principles characterize the constitution, which very likely was prepared under the influence of Wesleyan Tonga missionaries.
George Tupou I transformed Tonga into a modern state, abolishing slavery and the absolute power of chiefs. Since the last Tu'i Tonga had no official heir, as the head of the other two royal lines, King George became the only king of Tonga.
The constitution recognizes only his royal line. Inthe British granted Tonga's request for protectorate status. Inall powers were restored to the Tongan monarchy.
The British protectorate shielded Tonga from other colonizing powers. A spirit of independence and pride was nurtured during the long reign of Queen Salote —who led the nation into the twentieth century, paying special attention to preserving its heritage. Because of her vision, Tongan culture is an integral part of the school curriculum. Students learn Tongan history, traditional poetry, music, and dancing, along with wood carving, mat weaving, and bark cloth making.
Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space The first European visitors spoke of a population scattered throughout a densely cultivated land.
Now Tongans are concentrated in villages and small towns. Most villages lie around an empty area, called mala'ethat is used for social gatherings and games.
A traditional house stands on a raised platform of stones and sand. It is oval in shape with a thatched roof and walls of woven palm tree panels. The toilet and the kitchen are in separate huts. Contemporary houses are usually bigger and made of timber with corrugated iron roofs.
Little furniture is used.
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The simplicity of house architecture contrasts with the monumentality of earlier royal buildings and tombs. The royal tombs are layered pyramidal structures built of massive stone slabs. The huge Ha'amonga trilithon, made of two stone columns topped with a notched column, was built around C. One hypothesis suggests that it was the door to the royal compound, and another that it was used for astronomical purposes.
These monuments bear witness to the power of the Tu'i Tonga.
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They also indicate the sophisticated stone-cutting technology and skills of the ancient craftsmen. Food and Economy Food in Daily Life.
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Both in villages and in the main towns, food is the occasion for a family gathering only at the end of the day. Otherwise, food is consumed freely at any time. The basic staples are root crops like taro accompanied by fried or roasted meat or fish.
Taro leaves are one of the various green vegetables used together with a variety of tropical fruits like bananas, pineapples, and mangoes.
Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. The ritual of kava drinking characterizes both formal and daily events. Kava is prepared by grinding dried roots and mixing the powder with water in a ceremonial bowl. It is nonalcoholic but slightly narcotic. People sit cross-legged in an elliptical pattern whose long axis is headed by the bowl on one side and by the highest-ranked participant on the other.
The preparation and serving of the drink are done by a young woman, usually but not always the only female participant, or by male specialists. The The royal palace in Nukualofa. Tonga is a constitutional monarchy. Kava clubs are found in the towns, and kava drinking gatherings take place almost daily in the villages.
The economy centers on agriculture and fishing. Major exports are vanilla, fish, handicrafts, and pumpkins grown for export to Japan. King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV has modernized the country's economy. Based largely on foreign aid from New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and the European Community and on imports, this process has created a widespread presence of Western products.
The agricultural base of the economy remains. The tourist industry is growing, and revenues from Tongans working abroad are one of the largest sources of income. Typical agricultural produce are root crops such as taro, tapioca, sweet potatoes, and yams. Coconuts, bananas, mangoes, papayas, pineapples, watermelons, peanuts, and vegetables are grown. Pigs and fowl are abundant and free ranging. Cows, sheep, and goats also are present. Intensive shellfishing is conducted along the shores, and there is an abundant fish supply.
Royal visits and funerals call for the preparation of large amounts of food. Roasted piglets are laid in the center of a pola tray made of woven palm tree leaves. Root crops, meats, and shellfish prepared in the 'umu underground oven are added and garnished with fresh fruits, decorative flowers, ribbons, and balloons. In villages, food is consumed while one sits on a mat; in towns, tables are used.
Land Tenure and Property. All land is owned by the king, the nobles, and the government. Foreigners cannot own land by constitutional decree.
Owners have the right to sublet land to people who pay a tribute, traditionally food. Every citizen above age 16 is entitled to lease eight and a quarter acres of land from the government for a small sum, but the growing population and its concentration in the capital make it increasingly difficult to exercise this right. Social Stratification Classes and Castes. Traditional society had at its top the ha'a tu'i kingsfollowed by the hou'eiki chiefsha'a matapule talking chiefskau mu'a would-be talking chiefsand kau tu'a commoners.
All titles were heritable and followed the male line of descent almost exclusively. This hierarchical social structure is still essentially in place. Tribute to the chiefs was paid twice a year. Agricultural produce and gifts such as butchered animals, bark cloth, and mats were formally offered to the Tu'i Tonga and, through him, to the gods in an elaborate ceremony called 'inasi. The king now visits all the major islands at least once a year on the occasion of the Royal Agriculture Show.
The gift giving and formalities at the show closely resemble those of the 'inasi. The constitution eliminated the title of chief and introduced the title of nopele noblewhich was given to thirty-three traditional chiefs.
Only nobles and the king are now entitled to own and distribute land. An increasingly market-oriented economy and an expanding bureaucracy have recently added a middle class that runs the gamut from commoners to chiefs. Newly acquired wealth, however, does not easily overcome social barriers rooted in history. Often claims to higher social status are established by claiming kinship to holders of aristocratic titles. The Kingdom of Tonga is a constitutional monarchy.