Culture of Tonga
Like most Pacific Islanders, Tongans have a deep sense of hospitality, reciprocity and community. They are undeniably generous with food and belongings, and will welcome you into their homes.
Tonga is a mixtue of Samoans (Polynesians) and the Fijian people (Melanesians). Tonga is the place where the last Melanesian influence was most dominant. Melanesia halted in Tonga, as the Polynesian Samoans halted the migration of Melanesian influence into their lands and into eastern Polynesia. Tonga was first settled by Polynesians from Samoa, but got pushed out by the Melanesians of Fiji. The mixture of Fijian & Samoan blood created the Tongan people.
Tonga according to Genetics evidence in 2002, reveal its mix of Melanesian & Polynesian genetics since its settlement by the original inhabitants (not pure, as compared to the other pure Polynesians of Samoa and to the eastern Polynesia). Meaning, the Tongan people were Melanesians from Fiji who married Polynesian people from Samoa and procreated Polynesian-Melanesian children = the Tongans. Thats why some areas of Tonga are more Polynesian or more Samoan-looking and Samoan speech-wise ( LAU ) than other parts of Tonga ( More African looking types - tight curly frizzy hair with black skin like in Fiji & Papua New Guinea & the Solomon islands ).
Tongan FoodTraditional Tongan food usually includes various meats, vegetables and fruits. Common meats in Tonga are pork, chicken and fish. During special celebrations a pig is roasted on a fire which is on a pit. Many Tongans have their own farms where they raise their own animals and crops. Common vegetables used in cooking, are tomatoes, carrots, spinach, cabbage, pumpkins, onions and talo which is similar to a potato. Tongan food is often cooked in an underground oven called an 'umu.
Traditional Tongan dishes
Lu-Pulu, Lu Sipi, Otai, To'okutu, Vai siaine
MusicWe know relatively little about the 'music of Tonga' as it existed before Tonga was discovered by European explorers. Early visitors, such as Captain Cook and the invaluable William Mariner, note only the singing and drumming during traditional dance performances. We can assume the existence of the lali or slit-gong, and the nose flute, as these survived to later times. Traditional songs, passed down over the generations, are still sung at chiefly ceremonies. Some ancient dances are still performed, such as ula, 'otuhaka and me'etu'upaki.
Church MusicMethodists were known for their extensive use of hymns in their emotional services. True to their tradition, the early missionaries introduced hymn-singing to their congregations. These early hymns -- still sung today in some of the Methodist sects, such as the Free Church of Tonga and the Church of Tonga -- have Tongan tunes and simple, short Tongan lyrics
Secular MusicTraditional music is preserved (though how faithfully we can only guess) in the set pieces performed at royal and noble weddings and funerals, and in the song sung during the traditional ceremony of apology, the lou-ifi. Radio Tonga begins each day's broadcast with a recording from Honourable Ve'ehala, a nobleman and celebrated virtuoso of the nose flute. This music is NOT popular music; it is a cherished heirloom, preserved by specialists and taught as needed for special occasions.
ClothingTongans mostly still wear traditional dress. Tongan men wear a tupenu, which is a cloth that is similar to a skirt that goes around the waist and reaches below the knees and a ta'ovala which is a woven Tongan mat that men wear around their waist and tie it with a kafa. The shirt is usually worn with a collar. When going to funerals men usually wear a very large mat, which can be very old, and black clothes.
Tongan women wear a dress and a tupenu with a ta'ovala or kiekie around their waist when attending special occasions. Otherwise Tongan women wear a plain tupenu. It is common for Tongans to wear black clothes for months when mourning a close friend or relative. Recently it has become more common to wear Western dress
ON THE WILDSIDE has several tours to this destination