Friday, September 28, 2012

The Fa'hu and Aunt Gloria

I mentioned in another post that I went to two funerals last week in Fatumu. This morning I was talking with Una Lahi (Una's mother) more about funerals. And we began talking about other celebrations in the Tongan culture.

Having just finished Elizabeth Gilbert's book Committed (which you should read), I was particularly curious about marriage. Una explained that the most important person in Tongan culture is the woman, specifically the Fa'hu. The Fa'hu is your father's oldest sister and has a special role at almost every ceremony that involves you (birthday, marriage and funeral).

When I heard this news, I got really excited. I love my Aunt Gloria, but I'm not sure what she would think about having such an important role.

For example, if I were to get married tomorrow (which I'm not planning on, but anything is possible) my Aunt Gloria would ride in the car with my and my new husband from the ceremony. She would also have a special role in the ceremony too.

If I were to die tomorrow (which I don't really want to think about but will for the sake of the example), Aunt Gloria would sit next to my body and be covered in beautiful tapas (mats), necklaces, flowers, etc.

In Tongan culture, my Aunt Gloria would be the Fa'hu for not only me, but my brother and sister as well.

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