The influence of Christianity on Anga Faka Tonga (Tongan culture) is seen in the black clothing worn by mourners during the mourning period. To better understand the Tongan culture, there is a hierarchy within the culture where sisters outrank their brothers, and sisters have an authoritative power that brothers must abide by (Evans, 2001; Lee, 1996). It is a tradition in this situation not to carry the baskets in the hands, but from a pole over the shoulders. They also may leave food, drinks, and flowers by the gravesite. ( Log Out / Many times, the family decorates the gravesite with large, colorful quilts placed on racks. The Tuʻi Tonga were buried in the langi (burial mounds), most of them in Lapaha. 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. There are many parts that differ from American funerals, but one particularly stands out. One night, but in case of a high chief the ʻapō can last a whole week. 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). 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. The priest also may do a graveside funeral service, and the men in the family dig the grave. 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. Tongan funerals are also times of great respect and love. 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. We arrived in total darkness the night before and never got any impressions of the surroundings. Before a Tongan funeral, family and friends of the deceased gather for a wake to pay their respects. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. For parents, the women in the family pull their hair into a ponytail and cut it off. 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. It is a tradition in this situation not to carry the baskets in the hands, but from a pole over the shoulders. Someone wearing a colorful, finely woven mat to a funeral suggests they have high status. Here in America and in most of Canada, we have funeral traditions that have stood the test of time for decades, even centuries. This is called the haʻamo (Compare with: Haʻamonga ʻa Maui). In pre-Christian time in addition a part of the little finger (or any other finger if the pink was already consumed on earlier occasions) would be cut off. Decorating the funeral home where the viewing will be held is also another expensive cost. During the initial mourning period the mourners (especially the women) are not supposed to do their hair, but let it hang loose unattended. Tongan customs have many values and traditions that each family must uphold, and if that family does not maintain their responsibilities, they are frowned upon by the Tongan community (Lee, 2003; Lee, 1996). Most people wear traditional funeral attire, including a woven mat.
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