The Tongan culture has many interesting aspects when it comes to a traditional funeral, whether it is the ritual of cutting hair, exchange of traditional gifts, endless flower being displayed at the funeral home, or how there is always an undertone of humor. Other parts of the series are about Ugandan funeral traditions and Croatian funeral traditions, among others. 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. Note, these traditions may vary depending on the individual and their own beliefs.
In addition, when it comes to immediate family funerals, an aunt has the privilege or her children, to cut any of her brother’s children hair as a sign of respect to the deceased, especially if the deceased is a grandmother, grandfather, or father figure (Lee, 1996).
Please help her! This is the fakaaveave (meaning: like an asparagus), and also a sign of respect. 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). Your email address will not be published. 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. While some people express their sadness through crying, others turn to humor and laughter to help them grieve. Everyone gathers at the church for the funeral service, including community members who didn’t know the deceased very well. Meanwhile, men and boys of the family have dug a grave, and the coffin is lowered in there. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account.
For example, sisters have the privilege of naming the first-born child of their brother’s children (Lee, 2003). A person’s closeness to the deceased factors into how long they wear black mourning clothing. When someone wails at a funeral, they are usually crying and talking out loud about the deceased. Here in America and in most of Canada, we have funeral traditions that have stood the test of time for decades, even centuries. These are the relatives who do the hard, dirty work of preparing the ʻumu at the funeral. What is the “White material” you spoke about? The current dynasty of kings, the Tuʻi Kanokupolu are buried at Malaʻe Kula. Most people wear traditional funeral attire, including a woven mat. The Tuʻi Tonga were buried in the langi (burial mounds), most of them in Lapaha. 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. A brass-band may lead the procession.
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. Many thanks. Traditional Tongan funerals are beautiful to witness, but they are expensive and many traditions must be upheld. 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.
I need to help my wife prepare for three funerals and we cannot find it anywhere.
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). The end of the mourning, 100 days later, is marked by the lanu kilikili (washing of the stones), when little black stones (volcanic stones, collected from islands like Tofua) are rubbed with sweet smelling oil are laid out over the grave. This article looks at Tongan funeral traditions and is part of a series that highlights how different cultures care for their dead. Those who are not related at all should wear fine mats that are fakaʻahu, or smoked over a fire until they are a rich mahogany color. Your email address will not be published. Sorry for your loss. This is called the haʻamo (Compare with: Haʻamonga ʻa Maui). Can you please show a list of references that I can go to for further reading. That many people were missing their pinks was directly noted by Abel Tasman in 1643. I don’t blog often since we had to write essays and put them on a blog for one of my college english courses. A traditional Tongan funeral is beautiful to witness, but it is costly and certain traditions must be met. Note, these traditions may vary depending on the individual and their own beliefs. What kind of mat is worn depends on the relationship to the deceased. Change ), How Elderly Tongan Women Embrace Aging and Death. ( Log Out / Being raised in the Tongan culture is a blessing, yet a curse. They also may leave food, drinks, and flowers by the gravesite. 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). Some people also may wear torn mats to express their grief.
In the case of the death of a king, everybody is inferior of course, and only the course mats are worn. Thank you for writing about the Tongan funeral.
For those in uniform a black armband is allowed instead. 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. You’re basically covering the whole casket with a pretty white material that can be bought at any fabric stores. Relatives on the "sister's side" wear fine mats, often family heirloom mats. Such food is always put in baskets, woven from coconut palm fronds. If it is a high ranking civil servant, it will be the police brass-band. (This was originally done inside the grave to replace the by then rotten away skin of the deceased.) Required fields are marked *. 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. This is irrespective whether a taʻovala is worn or not. Hi The household of the deceased is supposed to provide a meal, or meals if it takes long, to all mourners.
The type of woven mat depends on several factors, such as someone’s relationship to the deceased. After that all leave, although the closest relatives may stay at the grave for the next 10 days. ( Log Out / The priest also may do a graveside funeral service, and the men in the family dig the grave.
But our traditions are vastly different from those in other countries and cultures.
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