Christianity and the Kingdom of Tonga
The predominant religious adherence in Tonga is the Christian faith brought to the islands by European missionaries.
Although many may see the prejudicial encroachment of white man philosophy to the previously barren, untouched island cultures as removing what was once natural, the accounts of pre-written history Tonga evokes a life of choices for the privileged and fear, death for the peasants. Traditions that were wiped out, were in part created to sustain the dominance of the ruling hierarchy, not spontaneous outpouring of joy from the peasant class.
Mapu He Langu further explores some of the ‘lores’ that were the practises, motivations of ‘the day.’
Tonga’s Christian heritage is most apparent on Sundays, where the law (recently reenforced by the ‘new’ more democratic Parliament) prohibits commerce on Sundays. Everything is closed so people can be more focussed on God. Wander down any village and you can hear, smell the food preparations for the day, the church bells ring and the town quiets down as the majority of the people attend their church of choice. The choirs resound with anthems, and evenings are spent sleeping or sharing with family.
Mariner’s recollections of his time in Tonga after the sacking of the “Port au Prince” and other recordings of pre-European Tonga implies there were no universally acknowledged gods and a great emphasis placed on local mischievous spirits. Life and property were rarely one’s own, and often lay at the whim of a higher ranked member of society who could and would require surrender of property, and possibly life.
The major groups/denominations of the Christian teachings extends from the Methodist Church and the Catholic Church. The Methodist Church fathered the Free Wesleyan Church its largest adherent, the Free Church of Tonga, and more recently the Tokaikolo Fellowship.