Customs and traditions of Tonga
Tongans are one of the most ancient and original nations of the Pacific Ocean. It is this land that is considered the center of formation of Polynesian cultures, it was here that the foundations of the statehood of the peoples of the sea originated and it is here that many old traditions and customs. This is a distinctive people proud of their history and traditions, committed calmly combining their ancient faith and Christian attributes, traditional housing and modern household appliances, century-old traditions of public organization and modern democratic institutions.
Residents of Tonga belong to the Polynesian ethnic group with some "Snaint" Micronesian blood and outwardly pretty similar to the self-sustaining, Fijians, Maori and other descendants of the ancient Austronesian tribes, settled the colossal expanses of the Pacific Ocean long before the Europeans went into the ocean. The ancestors of Tongan residents at one time contributed to the settlement of many Pacific Islands, therefore there is a clear similarity of cultures between representatives of different islands of the region and some differences in the customs even inside representatives of different island groups of the Archipelago itself.
Almost two thirds of the population of the Kingdom of Tonga live on the main island of the group – Tongatap, where European and local cultural customs are intensively mixed with each other. However, the general attitude of the islanders to its traditional style of life remains very high. Modern tongs have enough strong connections with other countries, many locals at one time emigrated to Australia, New Zealand and the United States, but retained with their homeland, therefore a substantial part of the country’s income is formed from remittances to emigrants to members of their families remaining in their homeland. In the end and influence "External cultures" Significantly enough, many travelers celebrate even some kind of Slogan residents to all foreign. However, this is only the outer side of the phenomenon, the aborigines themselves believe that they simply live in two completely different environments at the same time – in "Anga Fakatong" ("Tradition Tonga", "Tongan Path") and "Ak fakapalanga" ("Western Path"), not at all confusing the use of elements from both "paths".
Tonga culture is still based on a complex system of social hierarchy, special courtesies and ancient customs that regulate almost every aspect of public and private life. In doing so, the islanders are open and very respectful towards tourists. But we should not forget that courtesy of the locals means an adequate response from the interlocutor. If such is not forthcoming, or the very tourist behavior in the eyes of the locals will look defiant attitude to such a guest will be quite openly contemptuous, despite the presence of his other virtues.
Religion has traditionally occupied an important place in the lives of Tongans – they really are strictly apply to Christian precepts, and to their ancient cults. As in other Pacific islands, converted to Christianity by European missionaries, "imported" vera organically intertwined here with the ancient beliefs of the Pacific in a complex code of traditional ethics and rules of conduct. The overwhelming proportion of local people – Christians and zealous worshipers. The most important event of the week here – the Sunday service, and the most respected man (after the monarch, of course) – the priest, the mayor and performs often function or his assistant. Sunday service is almost sacred to every resident of Tonga, and even enshrined in the Constitution as a day of rest. These days almost all institutions and organizations (except for bakeries, several restaurants and resorts) are closed, and change the order can not be any forces. Any noise, a gathering or any other event except the service on Sunday will cause a noticeable displeasure of local residents. Even business contracts signed on Sunday, are considered invalid.
Line change dates passes virtually the archipelago (however, for the convenience of local residents, she framed the envelope of the territory), that gives rise to local Adventists assert that the Tongan Sunday actually Saturday, and did not attend Sunday services together with all. However, the Constitution guarantees all confessions equal rights and complete non-interference from the state, so this incident does not meet any resistance from the islanders. However, this almost unresolved problem provokes some tensions in society and leads to the confusion of many travelers. However, it is recommended for simplicity to follow the orders of the religious community, which turned out to be a tourist at this particular time.
At the entrance to the church or provincial chapels, you should shoot shoes and observe silence. On Sunday, when church services are held on all islands, noisy events should be avoided, but after prayer, the traditional song-dance holiday with obvious pagan roots is most often arranged, where noise and fun will be fond.
Festivities and Mandatory In this case, musical performances generally play a huge role in the lifestyle of Tonga, and the most important of them is honored to visit the monarch and guests from other islands of the region. They can be arranged completely for any occasion, and they will be necessarily accompanied by musical and dance ideas, peculiar banquets and "ceremony Kavy". All inconveniences caused by these noisy bumps around others, like noise or all kinds of delays in the work of transport or public institutions, are considered quite a small phenomenon and are perceived extremely calmly and even merrily all islanders (which you can not tell about tourists).
The dance here is traditionally the most important artistic form that turns the oral history and stories of the people to the visual row, he also accompanies all the important events in the life of a tongant, starting from the birthday or death and ending with the marriage, the birth of children or even the act of buying and selling any significant Property. At the same time, many scientists celebrate in the ritual of dance and traces of navigation arts, and considerable primitives of astronomy and geography – the local dance chooses a huge reservoir of culture. The same importance is given to the music – without chants impossible to imagine any holiday, special occasion or simply performing some kind of community service. From time to time the locals like "recall" an old tradition to start any important deal with a ritual dance or song to the glory of the spirits or ancestors, and then begins the moment a riot of different dance and musical groups seeking to-sing and pereplyasat each other (often in the process involves the population of the entire region).
Tongan village is quite extensive (from 50 to 400 people) point inhabited by members of one clan. Inside such "a large family" There is quite a difficult system of relations and cross obligations based on kinship and complex maze of local rites. Large family – the basic social unit in the islands, a kind of mini-state in which the material resources, food and other goods are divided among all family members equally. The concept of a family commune is so fundamental to the lives of Tongans that even parents often do not have the power over their the grown children who ultimately often choose a few "parent families" and completely free to live in any of them. It is not surprising that the concept of private property taking root in this land is extremely difficult, and still prevails in the local orders of such a "Primitive communism".
And yet, oddly enough, each family member has its own assigned role. Elderly people are entitled to the respect and even authority over certain aspects of social life. Women traditionally have a higher social status than in other parts of Polynesia, and some power over the male half of the family. The oldest sister in the family is often even considered her head, while she transferred the right education of children up to the siblings or their children. Social life, however, is still dominated by men. Children can live with her grandparents, aunts or unuses as free as with their own parents, while the trend is clearly noticeable to such living with senior family members, because parents are most often occupied at work. And the first one to teach Tongan children is the ability to behave in society, especially – in the company of adults, since children have equal rights with senior family members. Parents rarely express their feelings publicly. Humility, especially concerning relations between people of different social groups, is considered one of the virtues here (from here and very calm attitude to foreigners). And at the same time, the theatricality and ability to plant the most ordinary ceremony are appreciated, starting from the guest meeting and ending with some festive event.
When visiting a local village or house, first of all, you should present a small gift to the owner or the most respected member of the community (usually souvenirs, Kava, spices or spices, cigarettes, sweets or wine) are perfectly suitable for this role. Gifts are also granted as granted new friends or acquaintances. Accordingly, the tongans themselves are not averse to bestowing the guest with anything important for them, for it is the ritual of donation that is considered an official invitation to go to the house or join some ceremony. Women in this process do not stand out in any way, although there will be a special attention to them as appropriate.
Is very important in the life of the islanders have numbers, and not necessarily "Happy" or "unhappy" – Any. Special attention is paid to many other nations of the sea, Troika, Seven, nine and twenty. Tonganette with a special diet refers to the first twenty days before and after any important event, which is due to the inherited of the ancestors to public life and the geography of the islands – in former times it was 20 days in order to dissemble the news of birth or marriage to the clan members living in other islands and wait for their arrival for a joint holiday about this. Many scientists are from here to bring well-known tongons in affairs in cases and in decision-making, but local numerology is much more difficult and multifaceted – there is its own system to each type of events "happy" and "unhappy" figures, remember which for Europeans is simply impossible.
There are certain restrictions on the use of alcoholic beverages outside the bars and restaurants (it does not apply to the separation of Kava). Also on some islands tabulated individual groups of food.
Members of the Royal Family are used on the islands. The monarchs of Tonga really deserve a special conversation – possessing almost unlimited power and influence, they try to keep themselves with the subjects and guests of the islands underlined democratic and welcoming, participate (in one form or another) in many public events, holidays and sports events. It is the monarchs of the islanders who are obliged to confident and independent foreign policy of the islands, quite high by the regions of the region and the introduction of democratic norms of the public device. All dates and events in the life of the royal family are celebrated by the islanders as their own, and their authority simply continue. Dressed in traditional folk costumes (wicker fishing skirt and similar hats, only traditional for islanders naked torso, decorated only with beads and tattoos, changed strict European shirts and ties lately)) Figures of the ruling family can be seen in the church in service, on the stands of sports events and beauty contests. However, access for all foreign on the territory of the royal residence or special "royal zones" Forbidden.
Handshake – a common greeting form on Tonga, like many other European standards. However, in particularly solemn cases, the meeting of two people turns into a whole ritual with the exchange of kisses, gifts, showering flower petals and the floating track tracks (more often just wicker mats). The inhabitants of Tonga are considered to be impolite to talk in the presence of other people in the language, which they do not understand and, accordingly, are not very loved when such a neglect manifests themselves. Therefore, frequent invitations to speak privately does not mean that the sponsor wishes to speak with someone privately – he just wants to protect the rest of the language they. Like many other oceania peoples, tongans never make hasty judgments and try not to talk "No" in any controversial situations. Tourists will find that the more they will respect local customs, the more warm welcome it will be provided.
Dress up Islanders pretty free. A jacket, shirt and tie with a tissue skirt or a specially woven vegetable fiber, which are worn and women, and women are used. For women there are more than a dozen ways to design such a skirt, often it is managed to use even as evening clothes. Men also use all sorts of types of this garment, even local officials and employees as uniforms are blonde skirts (often wicker) and dark (often black) shirt with tie.
Simple casual wear is quite acceptable, but "Beach form" must be limited to the beach zone. And for men and women outside the bathing areas are required shirts and any dress item, hides hips (skirts, pareos, light trousers and so on – to the shorts in recent times increasingly cooperative attitude, but in many places the owner will look with obvious disapproval). For everyday wearing, light tropical trousers are quite acceptable, because in jeans here is too hot, in shorts – somewhat indecent. Women in all cases are recommended long and spacious light skirts, although there are a number of explicit sex with respect to fine sex. Business etiquette and official events provide for the most suitable options for clothing all the same light pants, strict skirts and spacious shirts with medium length sleeves. Hat within villages to wear not accepted, but Kep and sports hats are quite appropriate even in cities.
Pretty unusual on the islands attitude to nudism. With the overall negative perception of the naked body and even simply bathing topless, because of which nudism is almost prohibited on all public beaches, in many more or less closed resort areas this kind of recreation flourishes, and even on not strongly isolated beaches, you can often find tens of his fans.