Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Off to Church

Catholic church, Neiafu
Yesterday we went to church in Neiafu - we picked the biggest one (Catholic, though there are plenty of denominations to choose from) and were the only white faces in the congregation of around 300 people. The Priest gave us a special welcome in English and even did an English version of his sermon (on Love) delivered directly to us and we were given a special blessing in English at the end. The rest of the service was, of course, in Tongan.

However the main reason to be there was to hear the singing and we were not disappointed.  A choir of about 40 sang wonderful unaccompanied four-part harmonies but the rest of the congregation joined in with enthusiam (and without hymn books) so the sound was almost overwhelming. The music was lovely.

Religion is a vital part of Tongan life so whole families attend, dressed up in their finest. Both men and women wear the Ta'Ovala, a ceremonial waist-mat made  of woven pandanus leaves that is unique to Tonga. In Tongan society the Ta-'Ovala is equivalent to a jacket and tie and wearing it shows respect to 'God, King and Country'.

Sunday Best

The view across the anchorage from the church

Ta'Ovala plus random dog tail

We'll be back out into the islands over the next few days - some more unsettled conditions are forecast this week so we'll find some sheltered anchorages and enjoy the snorkelling. Meanwhile we have a few boat jobs on the list, as ever!

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