Observing the Sabbath

Observing the Sabbath – Tonga

Pacific children are often raised upon Christian values and principles, so observing the Sabbath on a Sunday is a common practice – including in Tonga, where the Constitution states that Sunday, the Sabbath day, is to be “kept holy”.

In this short video, Mele and her mum talk about how the Sabbath has been observed in Tonga and what it means for children living outside of Tonga.


Tongan Coat of Arms

5 Tongan Cultural and Language Videos

  1. The Lords Prayer in Tongan. Little Mele stands up in front of her class and recites the lords prayer in Tongan. 
  2. I am Tongan. Tevita talks about the country he loves, Tonga !
  3. Common Tongan Words – Common Tongan words that you can use everyday !
  4. Common Tongan Phrases – Increase your Tongan language by incorporating Tongan phrases into your everyday conversations
  5. Tongan words for Items found around the house – Learning new words can be fun, so here are common items found around the house like plate, cup, fridge and more.


Mum, why don’t we do anything on a Sunday, not even cleaning, washing clothes, mowing the lawns or anything,

When we grew up in Tonga, me and your dad, all we did on a Sunday was go to falelotu (church) with our family and have a umu afterwards, we couldn’t swim, fish, or even play outside.

You remember our Tongan coat of arms ?, “Otua mo Tonga hoku Tofi’a which means God and Tonga are my inheritance.

So in 1839, King George Tupou I made a declaration that dedicated the land and the people of Tonga to God. 

So to make sure we observed the Sabbath as a Holy day, Tonga wrote it in its constitution, this means that shops close and only essential work is allowed like hospitals and the police. 

Did you know, Tonga is the only country in the world that has these rules.

Now in New Zealand, we don’t have these rules, that’s why you see all the shops open, people working, its pretty much like any other day.

But as Tongans, we try to protect our cultural values, practices and religious beliefs because these things or traditions are important to us as a people.

Do I have to follow all of these rules too when I get older?

When you get older Mele, you might decide to work or do things with your friends, and that’s alright.

What matter most is that your relationship with God, your family, culture and identity remain strong.

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