If you have primary school aged children you will know the tune of Mr Clickety Cane by Peter Coombe. I use that tune to sing this silly song that I made up. For Tongans we have the utmost respect for our elders and I would never say this to my grandma directly. This is simply a silly song which does not need to make sense and it is the best way for children to learn. Children love silly songs and itʻs a great way to engage them and besides how many people know of a grumpy grandma.
- Taʻahine ko Grandma – The girl that is Grandma
- ʻOku nifo ava – Is missing some teeth
- Faʻa kaikaila – always screaming she is
- Tuku ā ho faʻa ʻita – youʻre always getting mad, please stop!
Ko e hā ʻa e ʻuma faka-Tonga pea ʻoku ai fēfē? Ko e ʻuma faka-Tonga ʻoku tatau mo e ʻuma fakananamuʼ, ʻoku faingofua pe ʻene ai ka ko e ngaahi meʻa eni ke manatuʻi.
- milimili kilimi ke namu lelei ʻa e mata kihe taimi fakafeiloaki
- ʻumaʻaki ʻa e kouʻaheʼ
- pea mihi pē ki ha taha ʻoku ke vaʻofi ʻaupito mo ia
What is a Tongan kiss and how is it done? It is also known as the sniff kiss, it is quite easy to do but you must remember several things.
- put on some lotion to smell nice when you greet others
- kiss using the cheeks
- then sniff only with someone who you are close with
Most of us are quite familiar with the Tongan kiss by the way our parents, grandparents and elderly greeted us. We Tongans use it as a sign of affection. While I may have once thought it an awkward greeting in my teenage years I now embrace it fully and greet my children no other way. Its origins must be ancient going back to our South-East Asian roots, as they also greet this way. It is also similar to the Māori greeting known as Hongi. While they greet using nose to nose, we Tongans use cheek-to-cheek. The significance of the sniff to the Māori people is that it symbolises the breath of life, breathing in the mana of the person you are greeting. Knowing all this, gives you a whole new perspective on the ʻuma faka-Tonga.
Tips in sharing the tradition of Tongan kisses with your children:
My children use to run away every time their grandma said it was milimili kilimi time. Since Iʼve explained to them the following tips they quite like receiving kisses in the Tongan manner.
- milimili kilimi is for smelling nice when you greet people.
- ʻuma faka-Tonga is how Tongans show affection
- mihi is how we really show affection for the people we love.
- mihi/ hongi is the breath of life
- When someone like grandma sniffs it is their way of sharing their mana and well wishes with you
A beautiful passage in the bible, reminding us the reason for the season.
Isaiah: 9:6 For there has been a child born to us, there has been a son given to us; and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
‘Oku ‘oatu ‘ae popoaki talamonū faka kilisimasi ko eni kiate kimoutolu kotoa pe ʻi he tapa ʻo e koloape. ‘Ofa ke mou ma’u ha Kilisimasi fiefia mo faka’ofo’ofa ‘o hangē ko ho’omou feitu’u faka’ofo’ofa pea tauange ke tau ‘inasi ‘i he fiefia tatau ʻi hono fakamanatua ‘o e ‘aho ‘Alo’i.
‘Ofa lahi atu meiate au Hema Fifita mo ʻeku siʻi famili masiva
In anyoneʼs language kids know how to smile and give them a toy camera and they start acting like professional photographers and happily snap away. So this is a great way to teach Tongan to your kids. Not only are they having fun but they are also learning simple phrases.
Here are some useful vocabulary when you’re playing imaginary paparazzi and superstar or for real life photo shoots.
- For Beginners: You could take photos until they get familiar with the phrases.
- For Intermediate: They could take photos of you and give you directions
Ko e ngaahi kupu’i lea ma’ae toko-taha fai-ta’ (Phrases for the photographer)
- Malimali! – Smile!
- taha ua tolu malimali – 1 2 3 smile!
- Hanga mai! – Turn this way!
- Hanga ki hē! – Turn that way!
- Unu atu! – Move away!
- Unu mai! – Move closer!
- Tu’u ma’u! – Stand still!
- Tangutu ma’u – Sit still!
- Sio mai! – Look this way!
- Sio ki ‘olunga – Look up!
- Sio ki lalo – Look down!
- Ko ia – that’s it!
- Faka’ofo’ofa – beautiful
- Talavou – handsome
- Ai fakalelei – Do it properly
- La’i tā – a photo
- tangata fai-tā – photographer (male)
- fefine fai-tā – photographer (female)
Hope this helps you and if you have other phrases to add let me know
Tu’a ‘ofa atu
1st day of June and itʻs that time of the year when seasons change. Which season is it for you?
Kuo kamata ʻa e faʻahitaʻu momoko he ʻahoʼni. Winter time has started today.
Kuo kamata ʻa e faʻahitaʻu māfana he ʻahoʼni. Summer time has started today.
We are celebrating the royal birth of Prince Taufaʻahau Manumataongo, first child for Crown Prince and grandchild for King Tupou VI this past week with a colouring activity for all the little ones. The Egg as in Easter symbolises birth and new beginnings and he is the future of the Tupou royal household and of our kingdom nation.
It takes a village to raise a child so we must not forget about our children, we must encourage them, question them, and engage them to embrace their culture and language.
These 7 egg critters will definitely keep your little ones occupied and engaged.
- Click picture above for printable pdf format
- There are prompt questions in Tongan to help engage your child
- There is a vocabulary list of Tongan words to help with questions
- At the end get them to do show-and-tell
- Remember encourage, encourage, and encourage with words like “poto, clever pronounce poh-toh” “mālie, good pronounce MA-lee-eh”
- anything iʼve missed out on or could add let me know!
Mālō tuʻa ʻofa atu