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Peace Corps Tonga Welcome Book | April 2012(June 2013 CCD Updated) towb421

Peace Corps Tonga Welcome Book | April 2012(June 2013 CCD Updated) towb421

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Peace Corps Tonga Welcome Book | April 2012
(June 2013 CCD Updated)
Peace Corps Tonga Welcome Book | April 2012
(June 2013 CCD Updated)

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Categories:Types, Brochures
Published by: Accessible Journal Media Peace Corps Docs on Nov 24, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial No-derivs


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Tongans have a well-developed sense of community based on a close-knit extended family unit and a close affiliation
to their church. Members of Tongan families take care of one another almost unconditionally. One‘s immediate
family includes grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. In many cases, the entire family works together to plant,
harvest, cook, and fish. Children typically live with parents or grandparents after marriage. It is quite uncommon for
single adult children to live independently of their families.

Religion is woven into almost every aspect of daily life. Tongans attend church regularly and bless each meal,
meeting, and event with a prayer. Devoutly Christian, almost all Tongans belong to one of the 20 or so denominations
in Tonga. About 43 percent of the population belongs to the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga, followed by the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), the Roman Catholic Church, the Free Church of Tonga, and the
Church of Tonga. Laws concerning the Sabbath are strictly upheld in Tonga, and virtually everything closes on
Sundays, except for emergency facilities, bakeries (in the afternoon), and some tourist facilities.

Many elements of Tonga‘s rich traditional culture are still prevalent today, including the wearing of the ta’ovala, a
decorative woven mat that is tied around the waist. There are certain ta‘ovala or kiekie (for women) for each occasion,
determined by the nature of the work one does and one‘s social status. Volunteers are usually given a ta‘ovala by their
host families, and wearing one in professional and religious settings earns Volunteers the respect of community
members. In most work settings, you are expected to wear culturally appropriate clothing, especially at government
ministries, in places of business, and in the classroom.

Another traditional element of Tongan culture that is still celebrated today is dance, which can be traced as far back
as the 15th century. No celebration in Tonga is complete without some form of dancing, and impromptu dances are
common to Tonga and other islands in the Pacific. The love of dancing gave rise to a custom called fakapale, or
giving appreciation for artistry and performance. In modern times, the custom has expanded to include money tucked

into a performer‘s costume, stuck to his or her legs or arms, or placed at his or her feet. Volunteers often participate in

or observe Tongan dancing in their communities.

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