• GET NEW POSTS HERE

    Enter your email address:

Tonga: Invitation To A Kava Ceremony

 

Tonga is probably our favourite place in the world; a gorgeous chain of South Pacific islands with crystal clear turquoise water, white sand beaches, and sweet people. It’s the kind of place that is in your travel dreams.

Tonga, Vava'u - Aerial 2

IMG_0773

Tonga: Vava’u Group of Islands

 

The second island we stayed on was in the Vava’u Group of islands, at Talihau Beach, at Lucky’s Beach Cabins. In Vava’u it was unusually hot, but we had a lovely fale (small house) at the end of a peninsula where there was the perfect cool breeze blowing off the point, and a gorgeous blue lagoon.

IMG_0487

 

Talihau’s Church A Capella

 

Our cabin was near a traditional Tongan village, Talihau (tallyhow), where we went to one of the churches on Sunday to hear the most amazing male choir you’ve ever heard – a Capella and harmony that sent shivers down your spine as it echoed in the rafters of the open air church.

Talihau Village

Talihau Church, TongaTalihau Church, Tonga

Talihau Church, Tonga

Talihau Church, Tonga

Talihau Church, Tonga

Talihau Church, Tonga

Congregation leaving Talihau Church, Tonga

Congregation leaving Talihau Church, Tonga

IMG_4823

Congregation leaving Talihau Church, Tonga

Congregation leaving Talihau Church, Tonga

 

Invitation To A Kava Ceremony in Talihau

 

After church, when the men invited us to take part in their Kava Ceremony, we were surprised. Even me – a woman, which was simply not done. This was an all-male ritual.

IMG_0454

 

The men all sit cross-legged, talking and drinking, often well into the night. It doesn’t make them drunk, just sleepy, but it is an important cultural tradition. There is an elaborate ceremonial procedure around the making and pouring of the kava, after which a bowl is passed around to share. The men talk about local events, sports, and politics; they joke and laugh and tell stories. Then they sing.

Kava root to prepare for the Kava Ceremony

Kava root to prepare for the Kava Ceremony

Preparing the Kava drink at the Kava Ceremony

Preparing the Kava drink at the Kava Ceremony

Preparing the Kava drink at the Kava Ceremony

Preparing the Kava drink at the Kava Ceremony

 

Second Invitation to a Kava Ceremony

 

We said how much we enjoyed their music and singing during the Kava Ceremony, so a few days later they invited us to another Kava ceremony to make a tape of their choir.  

Singing at a Kava Ceremony

Singing at a Kava Ceremony

 

Sitting cross-legged on the ceremonial tapa mats for several hours was not so delightful as it might sound, but respect was of greatest importance, so we dare not get up. I wriggled and squirmed, changing the position of my legs a dozen times. You can see my legs sticking out in the picture below, when after about two long hours, I could not sit cross-legged any longer. Stoic as always, T did not move from the cross-legged position the entire three hours and could barely walk after – his legs were numb and he was in debilitating pain. 

 

After much discussion and running back and forth, they finally got batteries for the tape player, only to end up getting an extension cord and plugging it in. Only in Tonga!

Trying to get the tape recorder working at the Kava CeremonyTrying to get the tape recorder working at the Kava Ceremony

 

Unfortunately, the tape we made was not of good enough quality to share with you, but here is a video of the best Tongan Kava Songs, very similar to what we heard: 

 

It was a great honour to be invited to be a part of Kava Ceremony. While there is the local village ritual of a Kava Ceremony several times a week, all important occasions are also marked by a more formal ritual of drinking kava, including weddings, funerals, church-related functions, and royal occasions. A formal kava ceremony is a component of the accession rites for the King of Tonga, to make his rule official.

 

The Village of Talihau

 

In this little village of Talihau, the children play, the church bell rings, the men drink kava, the women run things, families have picnics and swim at the beach, and pigs run around everywhere. 

IMG_0384

Talihau Village – kids playing

Piglets

Piglets

Pig

Pig

Pregnant Pig

Pregnant Pig

Pigs sleeping under a car in the heat of the day.Pigs sleeping under a car in the heat of the day.

 

Swimming With Pigs

 

The pigs, just like dogs, go swimming in the ocean with the families on Saturday afternoons – family day.

IMG_0423 - Closer2

Family day at the beach, swimming with the pigs.

Family day at the beach, swimming with the pigs.

 

icon-car.pngKML-LogoFullscreen-LogoQR-code-logoGeoJSON-LogoGeoRSS-LogoWikitude-Logo
Tonga

loading map - please wait...

Tonga -21.248422, 184.921875

 

Check the Kingdom of Tonga Website for more information:   http://www.thekingdomoftonga.com/

 

*This post was first published on Travel To Little Known Places June, 2013

Share
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Tonga: Invitation To A Kava Ceremony

  1. Ashraf says:

    Beautiful Ocean Photos!

  2. Pingback: The Sexiest Men in the World | TRAVEL TO LITTLE KNOWN PLACES

  3. Pingback: A Land Where Big Women Are The Most Beautiful | TRAVEL TO LITTLE KNOWN PLACES

We love comments! What did you like about this post?

  • Get New Posts Here

    Enter your email address: