• Solomon Islands!

    Solomon Islands: Looking up at palm trees. Go Now!

    Solomon Islands
    This Melanesian country is best known for its many islands and beaches... and this natural landscape (pictured) is why most people go. Don't miss out on the unique Melanesian culture and foods though! Begin Your Journey!

  • Tonga!

    Tonga: Coastline. Go Now!

    The heart of Polynesian culture is rooted in Tonga, but most visitors just come for the natural beauty. Explore Tonga!

  • Vanuatu!

    Vanuatu: Jetty into the ocean. Go Now!

    Picturesque serenity is a good way to describe Vanuatu, but the culture offers much more, including the inspiration for bungee jumping, which remains a rite of passage for young men. Explore Vanuatu!

  • Palau!

    Palau: "70 Islands!" Go Now!

    Few people have even heard of this small Micronesian country, but those who have often return with stories of beauty unmatched elsewhere, such as view of the "70 Islands" (pictured). Go Now!

  • Explore the: Federated States of Micronesia!

    Federated States of Micronesia: Overlooking some islands. Go Now!

    Federated States of Micronesia
    This diverse country stretches for thousands of miles and has the diversity to prove it, including the people from Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Yap among others. Begin Your Journey!

  • Samoa!

    Samoa: A traditional home. Go Now!

    Among the most famous of the South Pacific's many countries, Samoa sits in the heart of Polynesia and has a culture to match. Begin Your Journey!

Relationships, Marriage, & Family Life in Tonga

Dating in Tonga generally begins at faikava (a kava making and serving event), when a man asks a woman he is interested in to make kava. All are welcome to this event in the girl's home and rarely will a girl refuse a request. The young man and woman at the center of the event will remain in the girl's house as everyone else slowly leaves so they are given some privacy (although the girl's mother or father is generally watching). Later the young man may pursue the girl by visiting her home and asking her parents for permission to speak with the girl. Most of the dating process takes place in the girl's home under the supervision of her parents and generally it is a short process from this first faikava to either marriage or the ending of the relationship. If the relationship progresses he can request permission to marry her from her father (or her uncle, depending on who is the head of the family).

The wedding itself is a multi-day event with both families getting together the night before the ceremony. The groom's family traditionally brings gifts to the bride's family and a kava ceremony is held as gifts are exchanged. On the day of the ceremony itself the wedding couple will dress in traditional clothing and the groom will pick up his bride from her house; they will get married by a government official then are immediately married in a church (both these marriages are required for the marriage to be legal). After the marriage the celebration begins with a kava ceremony. It is expected the bride is a virgin on her wedding night and in some groups it is expected that she prove this by displaying the bloody bed sheet the couple uses on their wedding night. If she proves her virginity the groom's family will likely hold a banquet to honor the bride and her family. The following Sunday the couple is celebrated in the local church; this is followed by a large feast and ends the long marriage ceremonies.

Once married the bride will often move in with her husband and his family or they will move into their own house, but if this is the case it is usually located near the husband's family. Tongan families tend to be fairly large as most couples have three or four kids. Generally the husband is responsible for financially supporting the family and makes most major decisions while his wife is usually in charge of the house and is the primary caregiver.

This page was last updated: November, 2013