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Any description of Tongan culture that limits itself to what Tongans see as anga fakatonga would give a seriously distorted view of what people actually do, in Tonga, or in diaspora, because accommodations are so often made to anga fakapālangi.

The following account tries to give both the idealized and the on-the-ground versions of Tongan culture.

Circumcision is still practiced, but it is now done informally.

Sometimes it is done at home, with relatives present.

Contrastly in Tongan families your paternal aunt is the highest-ranking member and is referred to as mehekitanga or Fahu. In ancient Tonga one would inherit titles, land and people from their mother, after Christianity this was changed to mainly inheriting from ones father.

Until recently it was Tapu (taboo) for any male that has passed puberty to be in the same room with his sister or girl cousins alone.

Tongans themselves often have to operate in two different contexts, which they often call anga fakatonga, the traditional Tongan way, and anga fakapālangi, the Western way.

A culturally adept Tongan learns both sets of rules and when to switch between them.

Before the arrival of European explorers in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, the Tongans were in frequent contact with their nearest Oceanic neighbors, Fiji and Samoa.

In the 19th century, with the arrival of Western traders and missionaries, Tongan culture changed dramatically.

Traditionally, fishing and farming have accounted for the livelihood of a majority of Tongans.

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