White Sunday

KAFA – A traditional Tongan adornment worn around the neck or waist, hand made from natural fibres such cleaned and finely platted coconut husk, horse hair and finely shredded and rendered dried palm frond leaf sometimes dyed or stained traditionally with mulberry leaves.

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Decorated with cowrie shell, pearl shell, tortoise shell, coconut shell, feathers and various seed pods. A fresh kafa can be made from fresh palm frond leaves woven to accommodate fresh sweet smelling flowers and intensely fragrant herbs, woods and roots such as frangipani, Sieale (Gardenia), Paco (root that smells like Cinnamon), Ahi (Sandalwood) much like the Hawaiian fresh flower Lei.

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Contemporary and modern kafa tends to be made from synthetic fibres such as nylon or rayon thread, colourful plastic or glass beads and baubles replace the traditional shells, feathers and seed pods.

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White Sunday – White Sunday is celebrated by Tongan’s to commemorate and acknowledge the birth of Jesus Christ. As the name suggests White Sunday requires wearing customary white and adding layers of the traditional tau’vala (A very finely woven mat made from palm frond leaf and worn around the waist) fastened with a cord fashioned from coconut fibre. A kafa can then accompany the tau’vala and adds colour and more elaborate detail. White Sunday unlike the Samoan version tends to mainly focus on Tongan children either reciting a memory verse from the bible and or re-enacting a play that reflects a biblical theme. White Sunday usually ends with children, parents and church members all partaking in a Tongan feast.

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Celebrate Culture!

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