While enjoying a little post mother’s day lunch mum casually mentioned to Saane my landlady that she’d really have loved to have seen a Tongan wedding. “No problem” says Saane.
“My niece is getting married on Thursday so you and Sonia can come!”
We left the house at 10.30am and arrived home at 4.00pm… What a day!
First there was the visit to the court house for the short civil ceremony followed by a drive to the grooms village church for the sermon on love, honour and obey complemented by glorious singing of the primarily women guests. It was a smaller wedding maybe 50 adults and 20 kids. The bridal couple were beautifully adorned in traditional Tongan woven mats – simply divine.
I wore my newly acquired kie kie around my waist so felt quite Tongan.
After church we headed back into town to the bride’s aunty’s house for the wedding feast. And what a feast it was!!!!
The laden table could have feed 200….
There were the usual Tongan staples of orange cordial, yams, taro, and sweet potatoes surrounded by whole fish, chicken a dozen different ways, suckling pig, salads (although nothing green to be seen!) I was not aware that plates could be piled so high without items toppling down… And it is always intriguing to see older people choosing to sit cross legged on the floor for hours. Quite a sight to behold!
The household furniture was pushed to the sides of the room or installed in another. The floor of the living/dining room was covered with handwoven Tongan mats that are always a feature of special occasions. Shoes are left at the door… it is a lovely sensation to walk on these floor coverings that have seen so many happy (and no doubt sad) events.
The wedding cake was cut by the newlyweds and each popped a slice into the others mouth which was very cute. There is very little show of affection in public by Tongans so no kiss the bride in the ceremony like we are used to. Applause did however feature and at the feast we heard lots of prayers and speeches from family members and the bride and groom as well. All in Tongan apart from one friend who shared a little story in English for our benefit.
Ater cake we had servings of a tiramisu type dessert and icecream.
Guests left carrying piles of ‘takeaways’. In fact Saane’s whole car was over flowing with dishes of this and that to be distributed around the family and neighbours including a little pile for Kotoni!
Aunties have a major role to play at such functions and spent time dressing the bride that morning in the very finely woven heirloom ta’ovalas. Then at the end of the day they must be there to help ‘release’ here from these layers of wedding finery.
We feel very privileged to have joined in this special celebration for Sione and Ema…. Malo aupito or thank you very much Saane – our landlady extraordinaire!