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by  |  05-Aug-2015 00:33

Contrastly in Tongan families your paternal aunt is the highest-ranking member and is referred to as mehekitanga or Fahu. In ancient Tonga one would inherit titles, land and people from their mother, after Christianity this was changed to mainly inheriting from ones father.Until recently it was Tapu (taboo) for any male that has passed puberty to be in the same room with his sister or girl cousins alone.They do not out rank a Fahu but they have power to direct events.

The notion of faka'apa'apa is still strong but the meaning of it is slowly changing especially amongst the youth of the Tongan diaspora.

Other key members of Tongan kinship are the 'Ulumotu'a or the oldest male in ones extended family on your father's side, they are usually called upon to be in charge of funerals and other family events.

Tongans themselves often have to operate in two different contexts, which they often call anga fakatonga, the traditional Tongan way, and anga fakapālangi, the Western way.

A culturally adept Tongan learns both sets of rules and when to switch between them.

Hence Tongan culture is far from a unified or monolithic affair, and Tongans themselves may differ strongly as to what it is "Tongan" to do, or not do.

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