King Tupuo I Day: December 4
King Tupuo I Day in Tonga is a public holiday.
December 4 in Tonga is a public holiday, and it is celebrated to commemorate the installation of Tupou Maeakafaua Ngininginiofolanga as ‘Tui Kanokupolu in 1845 as King Tupou I of Tonga.
History of King Tupuo I Day in Tonga
Taufa’ahau emerged as King Tupou I after the Civil War of Tonga which started in 1839 and ended in 1845. The king ruled the island nation that he united, and he also administered the three island groups of Tonga, Ha’apai, Tongatapu, and Vava’u under his government. The king introduced in the 1875 Constitution the freedom of worship and the freedom of speech which became the defining principles of his kingdom. The observance of Sabbath as a holy day was also acknowledged in the constitution. Sunday is still a holy day in modern day Tonga.
Tonga is predominantly a Christian country. In the early 1800s, King Tupou I offered Tonga to God. The king’s Christian legacy up to this day strongly endures. Throughout the kingdom, King Tupou’s famous words “Tonga and God is my inheritance” still reverberate, and it is the national motto of Tonga. King Tupou I was not only a devout Christian, he was also a lay preacher. All Tongan kings after Tupou I have remained adherents of the Christian faith.
Tonga’s King Tupuo I Day Traditions, Customs and Activities
During the King Tupuo I Day celebrations, a series of concerts pay respect to the first king of Tonga. King Tupou I, the father of modern day Tonga and the Tupou dynasty, is also honored by solo performers in concerts at Queen Salote College Hall. The hour-long performances are performed with the national motto “God and Tonga are my heritage” as the underlying theme. The celebrations begin with a hymn that has lyrics penned by King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV.