Closer family will bring huge ngatu and other traditional gifts, and are supposed to stay for the ʻapō (night vigil). What a great experience! ( Log Out /  A brass-band may lead the procession. Cultural Spotlight: Luhya People of Kenya Funeral Traditions, How to Preserve Your Funeral Roses and Make Meaningful Mementos, Cultural Spotlight: Rwandan Funeral Traditions. For an acquaintance it may be a few days; for a distant relation it may be a few weeks whilst for close relatives the mourning period may last for up to a year. Before a Tongan funeral, family and friends of the deceased gather for a wake to pay their respects. For example, sisters have the privilege of naming the first-born child of their brother’s children (Lee, 2003). I don’t blog often since we had to write essays and put them on a blog for one of my college english courses. For example, my aunt passed away last weekend and her funeral was beautiful; there were endless amounts of flowers, and flower leis flown in from Hawaii, the funeral home was decorated extravagantly with traditional Tongan mats, and she was laid to rest by a carriage ride to her gravesite. For those in uniform a black armband is allowed instead. The “white material” is a long piece of material that is draped over the top & bottom half of the casket. When mourning, people are encouraged to still appear in public. Tongan funerals are without a doubt a period of mourning, yet there is a sarcastic undertone around the deceased and the mourners. ( Log Out /  This article looks at Tongan funeral traditions and is part of a series that highlights how different cultures care for their dead. The household of the deceased is supposed to provide a meal, or meals if it takes long, to all mourners. Can you please show a list of references that I can go to for further reading. After the funeral, there is a funeral procession to the burial that’s lead by a brass band. While some people express their sadness through crying, others turn to humor and laughter to help them grieve. One night, but in case of a high chief the ʻapō can last a whole week. According to Lee (1996), she states that wailing at a Tongan funeral is normal emotional expression that many Tongan women will do, and that after a funeral, many people will joke about death or the deceased in a friendly manner. Thus the Haʻa Tufunga clan is charged with funeral duties for though they claim descent from a brother (Māliepō) of the first Tongan king, they are not part of the Tongan ranking system because of their Sāmoan ancestry. by Jenny Goldade | Jul 6, 2018 | Cultural Spotlight, For Families. When someone wails at a funeral, they are usually crying and talking out loud about the deceased. A person’s closeness to the deceased factors into how long they wear black mourning clothing. Typically mourners bring small funeral gifts for the grieving family, such as woven mats, food, or money. It is headed by Lauaki, who serves as he is the royal undertaker, and only his men, known as the nima tapu ("sacred hands") may touch the dead king's remains. Not only does my aunt outrank my father, but her children outrank all of the brother’s children; where my first cousins on my father’s side can tell me their wants and needs, and I have to abide their wishes (Lee, 2003). Even as late as 1865 when Tēvita ʻUnga, king George Tupou I's son, the crown prince, was described as "minus 2 fingers, cut off as a tribute to some deceased relatives" (as well as having lost one eye).[1]. They also may leave food, drinks, and flowers by the gravesite. See why thousands of funeral homes choose Frazer-powered websites! Thankfully my father is still alive and has not passed away, but when he does, my aunt or her children have the right to cut my hair as a sign of respect to her and to my father. jglenwelkerpac@yahoo.com. During the mourning period, mourners wear black clothing. Everyone gathers at the church for the funeral service, including community members who didn’t know the deceased very well. Being raised in the Tongan culture is a blessing, yet a curse. Vigil. Your email address will not be published. For friends or distantly related members it is enough that they come, pay their respect to the dead, bring a small gift for the widow (or whatever the case may be), have their share of food and then leave until the actual burial. That many people were missing their pinks was directly noted by Abel Tasman in 1643. Required fields are marked *. A traditional Tongan funeral is a beautiful showing of love, respect, and honor (Lee & Francis, 2009). Please help her! In the later days of the mourning period the fakaaveave can be worn alone without the bulky taʻovala. What kind of mat is worn depends on the relationship to the deceased. Appearing in public during this period a taʻovala (mat tied around the waist) is much recommended, and it should be during that time a mourning taʻovala. As soon as the death has occurred all family members will be notified, nowadays often by a radio message and they are supposed to come to the putu (funeral rites), no excuses. ( Log Out /  Most people wear traditional funeral attire, including a woven mat. Additionally, Tongan funerals are just as expensive as weddings, and starting cost can begin at 10k; with costs that can range from traditional gifts given between families, providing food to feed the mourners, and the endless amounts of décor that are put into a traditional Tongan funeral (Lee, 2003; Lee, 1996). (This was originally done inside the grave to replace the by then rotten away skin of the deceased.) A traditional Tongan funeral is a beautiful showing of love, respect, and honor (Lee & Francis, 2009). This is the fakaaveave (meaning: like an asparagus), and also a sign of respect. If it is a high ranking civil servant, it will be the police brass-band. The mourner can wail about a variety of things from how much the deceased will be missed, or wail about the deceased dying because the person ate too much. To be present at a funeral of a family or friend is a sign of love and respect, to the family of the deceased (Lee, 2003; Lee, 1996).With many mourners in attendance at a traditional Tongan funeral, the family of the deceased will have to feed everyone that is present (Lee, 2003; Lee, 1996). Sorry for your loss. In the case of the death of a king, everybody is inferior of course, and only the course mats are worn. Gift exchange, feeding the mourners, and décor are the most expensive matters at a traditional Tongan funeral (Evans, 2001). I have been to many Tongan funerals and the décor of every funeral I have been to is extravagant. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. The mats represent their respect and love for the deceased. The burial itself starts with a church service, the number of reverends/priests, the number of their sermons and therefore the duration of the service is proportional to the rank of the corpse. Usually a big tent (some companies are specialised in hiring out such tents) is erected in the garden, and there the people sit the whole night singing religious songs. Brenchley: Jottings during the cruise of HMS 'Curacoa' among the South seas islands in 1865; London 1873. https://web.archive.org/web/20110527144623/http://www.matangitonga.to/article/tonganews/royalty/haamo210906.shtml, https://web.archive.org/web/20110527144652/http://www.matangitonga.to/article/tonganews/royalty/hair_cutting290906.shtml, https://web.archive.org/web/20061103044649/http://www.matangitonga.to/article/tonganews/royalty/mourning_ends161006.shtml, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Tongan_funerals&oldid=875719202, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 28 December 2018, at 15:28. And for sure when attending the funeral itself, it is obligatory. I need to help my wife prepare for three funerals and we cannot find it anywhere. Gift exchange is a form of generalized reciprocity where family, friends, neighbors, and fellow church members exchange goods of traditional mats, food, or money according to Evans (2001). Over the course mats loose strips of pandanus may be worn, as whether it is a kiekie. But our... Funeral roses are some of the most common flowers to give and receive when a loved one dies. When a family member or friend dies within the Tongan community, many people will attend the deceased funeral, even if they had no personal ties or relationship with the deceased (Lee & Francis, 2009). The priest also may do a graveside funeral service, and the men in the family dig the grave. A traditional Tongan funeral is beautiful to witness, but it is costly and certain traditions must be met. Relatives on the "sister's side" wear fine mats, often family heirloom mats. Tongan funerals can also be extremely expensive, and cost can easily start at 10k. Funerals in Tonga, despite the large Christian influence they have undergone over the last 150 years or so, are still very much a traditional affair and an important part of the culture of Tonga, especially if it concerns the death of a member of the royal family or a high chief. Wailing at a Tongan funeral is customary if you are Tongan. As soon as the death has occurred all family members will be notified, nowadays often by a radio message and they are supposed to come to the putu (funeral rites), no excuses. Thank you for writing about the Tongan funeral. Many thanks. In Tonga, the monarch is still considered so sacred that no one may touch him. Even though my aunts wailing about her grandson’s death was not funny during her act, afterwards, all the mourners were laughing at her wailing antics. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. Decorating the funeral home where the viewing will be held is also another expensive cost. There are endless amounts of flower sprays, flower bouquets, and the open casket is always covered by a special white material that can cost $10-$50 per yard. The Tuʻi Tonga were buried in the langi (burial mounds), most of them in Lapaha. After that all leave, although the closest relatives may stay at the grave for the next 10 days. I will send you the links to my references once I find them. At the end of the 10 days it will be officially cut. These are the relatives who do the hard, dirty work of preparing the ʻumu at the funeral. Many times, the family decorates the gravesite with large, colorful quilts placed on racks. Other parts of the series are about Ugandan funeral traditions and Croatian funeral traditions, among others. Some people also may wear torn mats to express their grief.

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