Tongan Funeral Essay

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Vika Pahulu Professor Ortiz Eng 59 #11458 1 October, 2014 Tongan Putu Attending a Tongan funeral you will witness its unique setting. A time where the Tongan community comes together to mourn and celebrate the life of the deceased. It is a sacred occasion that has many meanings to it.This unique traditional event is a beautiful sight to see as families come together to say their last goodbyes before laying their loved one down to sleep believing their spirit will descend into the heavens. Tongans have a unique arrangement when it comes to funerals a five day period visitation to the house of the deceased from friends, family and many churches. The meaning behind why Tongans have a specific dress code when attending the funeral. How hierarchy plays a big role and how the Tongans memorializes a death in the family. Nofo’aki putu (home of the deceased) friends, families and many churches will come to the home of the deceased presenting their gifts to the family. The gifts range from money, food, Tongan valuables like mats and blankets (Nauwee). Your gifts and presence show your respect and condolences to the family of the deceased. While presenting the gifts to the family prayers must be said and hymns will be sung in Honor of the deceased This occasion is called the failotu meaning do prayer. The opening failotu must be the church the deceased went to. From then on other churches friends and families are allowed to bring their offerings for the family of the deceased. Family members of the deceased will prepare food as an appreciation to those who came to the nofo’aki failotu. The failotu takes about five days and is held the week of the funeral. Tongans wear black for funerals because in old beliefs when attending a funeral in the Tonga there were spirits of other deceased attending the funeral too so black was used to blend in and not get possessed.

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