We were invited to the minister's wedding in our village. The minister has only been in the village for 1 1/2 and is marrying a lady from the next village over. We were very happy to be invited to the wedding and feast. The night before the wedding the women decorated the church with beautiful flowers, and white clothes.The bride is in front, the man in white is the minister... don't know who the man in blue is!
Note: Behind the couple is a cement water tank it hold approx 10,000 Liters of rain water. The church has 3 of them and they are public water. Right now are village has no well water - the well was contaminated with salt water when the cyclone hit last year. The entire village is dependent on rain water.
The weddings here take place on Tue or Thursday, there is a party after the ceremony. Then the bride and groom go back to their seperate homes until Sunday when they present the bride at church and have a small ceremony. Sunday after the feast and ceremony the bride and groom then go to the house they will live in together.
Due to this wedding being the minister - nearly every family in the two villages prepared a table... In Tonga the more you have on your table the bigger status you have so the people literally spend an entire weeks salary or more preparing a table for others to eat at! The picture at the right is Maka, with the pig he killed for the feast. This was his own pig, and one of the bigger pigs he has.
The villagers also collected money over the past couple of months and purchased a couple of cows to eat at the feast. The following pictures are of the cows hanging from the trees after they were killed, and then the umu (underground oven) that they cook all the meat and vegetables in. The vegetables here are mainly sweet potatoes and taro leaves. Taro leaves are close to tasting like spinach.
I went up with Derrick to where they were preparing the meat. They were very happy to have me take pictures, I then realized there were no women at all near the umu or any of the slaughtered pigs and cows. I was quick and taking pictures then I left the men to cut up the meat and prepare the pigs and cow for the feast the next day! Derrick was invited to stay and he sat and drank kava (local plant root) and cut up cow.
The picture is of some of the men in the village who dug the umu. It was atleast 6' deep and 10' long! I think a total of 2 cows, 5 pigs, other various animals and all the sweet potatoes went into the umu to cook overnight.
The amount of food on each table was over whelming! Each table had on it; of oti ika (oh-tie-ee-ka) it is a raw fish in coconut juice with tomatoes and lime juice. Sweet and sour chicken, deep fried chicken, lu (corned beef wrapped in taro leaves) regular fish, chicken chow mein, mussels, clams, lobster and then in front of us was a whole cooked pig. I would guess there was over 300 people there from both villages. I must say my favorite thing to eat is the oti ika.... before coming here I had never tried raw fish, no sushi, nothing, but I wanted to try eveything when we moved here.. now it is one of my favorite things to eat!
We had a great time at the wedding and feast, I might still be full from all the food!
The last picture is of just one side of all the tables, there was a whole other group of tables set up to the right.