23 June 2013

No eggs for festival season

We discovered on Saturday that the country is out of eggs.

If supplies start running out, it must be the Conference season in Tonga! Every year, June and July are jam packed with events: the opening of Parliament, the Heilala Festival, the Wesleyan Church Conference, and several others as well. It's a time when the Tongan community around the world returns to Tonga and celebrates, eats, cooks, donates, and gets their fill of Tonga. And because of the massive amounts of food prepared for all the events, shops inevitably run dry.

A friend at work told me this morning that a cousin of hers went all around town trying to find eggs for the last cake they needed to provide. All the shops were out, so after circling around town, she finally stopped at a little cafe, and ordered two eggs, raw. The barista asked her "are you sure you don't want me to fry them?" to which she replied that she'd just like him to bring her two raw eggs from the kitchen. He did, and they baked their cake! (This post says "posted by Mark Noyes," but it's Elena writing)


The first event we've gone to was the opening of Tonga's Parliament, inevitably accompanied by a large parade involving all the schools in Tongatapu, and some from the outer islands. The children line the roads, the school bands march the whole parade route, people come out in droves to see the parade, and then the king drives the parade route on his way to open Parliament for the year.

The Mormon high school, Liahona, always puts together a very talented and entertaining band. School pride being what it is in Tonga, the school comes out to support the band in a big way, even if they don't get to line the road in the center of town itself. 

The drum major from Liahona never fails to show up extravagantly decked out.

Kids and their parents are extremely proud of being in the school brass band, and the bands are showcased at every opportunity, from parades to funerals to social events.

Of couse, chaperons are required for any public outing, and they proudly display school colours (Bright red for Tonga College). Look at the strut in their step as they follow the band and lead the rest of the school.

This was just one "regiment" of the 1000+ boys who marched in the parade from Tonga College, and a scene repeated by various schools all along the parade route. The school would march from a designated area and then line the road when they arrived at their spot on the side of the road.


The parade route always runs right by my office, so my coworkers and I stood on the balcony to watch the proceedings. It's always the best spot in town. I got back from New Zealand a few weeks ago, just in time for the festivities.














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