Christmas in Tonga is celebrated with a public holiday every 25 December, as it is in a majority of countries around the world. This Christian festivity commemorates the birth of Jesus, and is part of a 22-28 day season in the Christian calendar known as Advent.
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Tonga celebrates Christmas rather differently than many Western nations. First of all, things in Tonga are very religious still. Church-going is the central part of the holiday.
Carolling while playing all manner of local instruments, is a major tradition that many enjoy. Sometimes, carollers are given gifts for their efforts. But the main gifts people exchange are plates of delicious food, and Christmas is more about food than about presents in minds of many Tongans.
If people have a Christmas tree at all, it’s more likely to be a local, tropical tree that they harvested. Quite often, the tree is taken from your own backyard, and it will be decorated with colourful balloons and candy.
Finally, one of the most unique Christmas traditions in Tonga is the lighting up of coconut husks on the beach shore. Each island lines up dried coconut husks and lights them on fire at night so they look like Christmas lights from a distance.