January 3, 2004 - Personal Web Page: Traditional Courtship in Tonga by RPCV Lolo Masi

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Tonga: Peace Corps Tonga : The Peace Corps in Tonga: January 3, 2004 - Personal Web Page: Traditional Courtship in Tonga by RPCV Lolo Masi

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-19-87.balt.east.verizon.net - on Saturday, January 10, 2004 - 10:23 am: Edit Post

Traditional Courtship in Tonga by RPCV Lolo Masi

Traditional Courtship in Tonga by RPCV Lolo Masi

Traditional Courtship in Tonga (How does boy meet girl in traditional Tonga?) written by Lolo Masi

In traditional Tonga, or in the outer villages or islands of Tonga today, they do not have TV. A most popular activity there is to have a faikava . Faikava means to do or make kava, a traditional, non-alcoholic beverage, made in a big bowl and served in polished coconut shells. Kava is the dried roots of a plant which grows in Tonga. The roots are pulverized with two hard, smooth stones at the faikava, and put into the bowl. Water is added, it is mixed, strained, and served to all who sit around the kava bowl.

It is common for a boy to ask a girl to make kava. This happens often, especially in the evenings, and anyone who hears about it is welcome to partake. The boy can stop by the girl's house almost any time of day or evening and just ask and/or arrange a time for the faikava. She rarely refuses.

He arrives, usually at her house, with friends. He will perhaps sit next to the girl and assist by breaking up the kava root or by pouring water into the bowl, while she does the mixing. Every few minutes or so, someone (or anyone who wishes) calls for kava to be drunk. So she stirs the kava in the bowl, and pours the kava drink into coconut shells which are passed around to all sitting at the faikava. Around the kava circle, people talk about anything at all and sometimes sing songs. Sometimes no one speaks, but everyone is relaxed. After a few hours or so, people usually get tired and start to leave. Here is where the story of courtship continues.

The boy who is interested in the girl lingers on. Eventually, everyone leaves the faikava except him. When the two are alone, talking together, it is called, aa aa in the Tongan language [pronounced, ahh, ahh]. Actually, the girl's mother is watching from a secret place, perhaps behind a curtain. Now if this continues into the night and on until sunrise, it is called aa aa aho 'ia [To aa aa (talk alone), into the next day (aho 'ia )]. To aa aa with a girl is a subject that does not go without notice, but to aa aa aho 'ia is of greatest interest and is known or talked about by all the people in the village or neighborhood.

No one can look at the boy without thinking about the girl. When someone sees the boy they might, for example, call him by the girl's father's name, or make similar jokes or references to her, her family, or place of residence. In this way, the local community joins in the boy's and girl's relationship, and the talk (or gossip) doesn't stop until the couple either stop seeing each other or get married !

Lolo Masi's View

Yours truly, Ralph (Lolo) Masi, lived and worked in Tonga about 12 years: as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer from 12/1974 - 5/'78, and independently from 9/1983 - 2/1992. It was unforgettable, and I still love to speak Tongan --- a language of substance. I became friends with several Japanese volunteers (JOCVs) and now live in Japan where I started writing about Tonga due to requests from colleagues and friends here. 'Ofa Atu !!!

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Story Source: Personal Web Page

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Tonga



By a (adsl-69-109-227-133.dsl.pltn13.pacbell.net - on Monday, May 22, 2006 - 9:37 am: Edit Post

how are you today.

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