Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tonga--important birthdays. Ed-60 and Andrew 12

Big Mama's Yacht Club on the tiny island of Pangimoto near Tongatapu is visited by almost all cruisers who make it to the Tongatapu Group of the Kingdom of Tonga. It is a very nice anchorage and has a passenger ferry to the main town of Nuku'alofa. Big Mama is quite a character and loads of fun. Her husband Ed celebrated his 60th birthday on November 1, 2008, while we were anchored there. Big Mama hosted a huge birthday party for Ed. It is traditional in Tonga to hold a feast and a big blow-out party to honor the birthday boy for his very-important 60th birthday. As a coincidence, their son Andrew also celebrated his 12th birthday on the same day. The 12th birthday for a Tongan boy is also a special event.

Ed and Andrew were dressed to kill in the finest quality super smooth woven tapa available. They were seated on large blankets of woven tapa. You will note their serious expressions; it is not customary to smile when your photo is taken on these special occasions. There was a 15-piece band made up of all local policemen and lots of fun dancing. I nearly cracked up when they played "Acky Breaky Heart" and the Tongans went wild over that song and dancing! Who would have thought that US country music would be popular in the Kingdom of Tonga! Some Americans started line dancing and soon were teaching others how to do it. It was a hoot!

A huge feast was served at this party. Lots of Tongan traditional feast foods and vast quantities of the all-important roast baby pig. Pork is not usually eaten in Tonga except at feasts. And a feast is judged by the quantity of roast baby pig that is served. This feast certainly did not disappoint in that regard. To serve your guests such quality food and provide lively entertainment makes the host and celebrant be judged at a high status by the Tongans.

Big Mama did a bang up job.

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