Your desire to visit a paradise would be a dream come true in the Kingdom of Tonga. A country located in Oceania and archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean bordered by Fiji, Wallis and Futuna, Samoa, Niue, Cook Islands, New Zealand, and New Caledonia. There are more than 170 islands in the country, and only 36 of them are the only inhabited. Tonga is the Polynesian Kingdom and once known as the Friendly Islands. The official languages of the country are the Tongan and English. Here, you don't need to search for the wonders of the country because the surroundings say it all. Island hopping and thrilling activities would surprise you, making the best of your life. The country remained true to their ancestral roots as their traditional practices are still evident and clearly exist. Their nation has never been colonized by foreign countries; that's why their culture remained intact.
1. The Authentic Traditional DressTypical dresses can be seen in many places, but traditional dresses are rare to find because modernity already embraced the world. Tonga proudly presents its authentic traditional dress called the ta'ovala. It is a woven waist mat that is often worn by Tongans, and wearing it is a sign of respect because it is part of their culture. The belt wrapped around the dress is made up of braided coconut husk. Aside from wearing it, the mats have a multi-purpose, it is usually seen on the floors. These mats are the heritage of the past, and it has an integral role in special occasions such as deaths and weddings. The traditional weaving of the mats is one of the ancient handicrafts of Tongans.
2. The Charms of Tapa MakingTapa cloth is known for its intricate sacred patterns that will catch every travelers' attention because it has an attractive appearance. The tapa cloth has a tremendous cultural significance on the lives of Tongan people. It is made from the bark of a mulberry tree or known as the hiapo. If you are looking for an original souvenir worth it, then this traditional made cloth is perfect for you. Tapa making is mainly done by the women from the early morning until sunset on their homes or to the communal tapa house. The traditional way and lengthy process of making tapa cloth would bring amazement to you, letting you see how blessed their hands are and letting out the best artist within them. Tapa cloth is primarily found in Tonga and its neighboring countries.
3. The Uniqueness of Tongans' CultureThe Kingdom of Tonga is the perfect place for travelers who want to immerse themselves into a largely homogenous, and family-oriented society where the culture is intact. The community is guided by the core values: Fefaka'apa'apa'aki (mutual respect), Feveitokai'aki (sharing, cooperating, and fulfillment of mutual obligations), Lototoo (humility and generosity) and Tauhi vaha'a (loyalty and commitment). The wonders of the place and people living on it are appreciated because they live with their unique culture. It is the legacy of the past that their ancestors passed down, which showcases their traditional dances, music, and foods. You will not just feel the welcoming ambiance of the surroundings but also the presence of the people. Their hospitality and friendliness are their top list of qualities. There are so many things that would be unraveled once you witness their traditional customs.
4. Some Males are Raised as FemalesThere is a part of the Tongan culture where males are raised to be females for a specific purpose. If a mother has many sons, she would need to raise one of his sons as a daughter so that someone will do the household chores together with her. This is called "fakaleiti," faka means "in the manner of" and leiti means "lady." This tradition can also be found in other Polynesian countries like Samoa.
5. Traditional Dances Offers EntertainmentBlessed with the intact tradition, the country has been able to preserve its traditional alive dances that provide travelers the story of the past. Traditional dances fill your journey with its active and graceful movements. One of the traditional dances that provides entertainment for the travelers is the Lakalaka, a term that means "to step briskly or carefully." Dancers' movements include stepping their feet and moving their arms in serpentine movements. It is considered one of the most essential actions in the Lakalaka, it is a smooth Tongan art form that's been acknowledged by the United Nations as a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity." The ornament they use includes beautiful bracelets, neck garlands, and the tekiteki (a feather headpiece). Wearing the tekiteki heightens the dancers' head gestures.
6. Journey with the Lively Humpback WhalesSwimming with Whales in Tonga is another joyful experience for you. Visitors adore the humpback whales in the country every between June and October. These whales from the Antarctic come to Tonga for breeding and giving birth. The journey under the water is much more remarkable because of these whales. The crashing waves and calm waters would have a lot of meaning to you than yesterday because of these huge lovely creatures. Have fun and enjoy every minute with them.