Family roles, a vital part of Tongan culture.
Celebrating Harmony week gives us an opportunity to understand the diversity of cultures within our community. At Bowra & O’Dea culture and the representation of culture through the funeral ceremony is extremely important to us. We had the honour of being part of a traditional Tongan funeral.
In Tongan society four core values guide its people:
- Fefaka’apa’apa’aki (mutual respect),
- Feveitokai’aki (sharing, cooperating, and fulfilment of mutual obligations),
- Lototoo (humility and generosity), and
- Tauhi vaha’a (loyalty and commitment)
Respect for elders and the roles each family member plays is a vital part of this culture and the Tongan funeral is a time for great love, respect, and community. During a Tongan funeral, a ta’ovala is worn. A ta’ovala is a finely woven mat that denotes the status and relationship of the family member to the deceased. To wear a colourful mat suggests a high status – usually reserved for the fathers’ oldest sister or Fahu. The dirtiest most worn-out mats are given to a younger brother and immediate family choose worn or frayed ta’ovala to show their love and respect for the deceased. The size of the ta’ovala can also represent the size of the grief for the deceased.
We are grateful to assist our families in celebrating the life of their deceased through cultural traditions. What cultural traditions do you and your family keep? Email us here and help us learn more about the amazing community that we are part of.
Article References & Links for more information:
A non-religious funeral is a ceremony that focuses on celebrating the life of the deceased person
A Muslim funeral is a solemn and simple ceremony focused on the swift burial of the deceased in