King Tupou I Day is celebrated every December 4 or the following Monday if it falls on a weekend. The first king of modern Tonga was George Tupou I. He was born on December 4, 1797, and died on February 18, 1893. Tonga saw civil conflicts in the early 19th century, and King Tupou I unified the country into a monarchy. He converted to Christianity in 1831, and after becoming King of Tonga in 1845, he transformed the kingdom into a Christian one. He reigned as King of Tonga from 1845 until 1893, during which time he fully adopted the Western royal style and abolished serfdom in 1862.
History of Tupou I Day (in lieu)
Taufa’ahau Tupou I was born in Tonga around 1797 and took the name Tupou after his coronation as ‘Tu’i Kanokupolu’ in 1845. His mother, Hoamofaleono, fled from Tongatapu with her son to Ha’atalafale Tu’ipelehake, who lived on Ha’apai Island. His father, Tupouto’a, had been sent to kill Tupounia and ‘Ulukalala to avenge the assassination of his father, Tuku’aho. He was viewed as a low-ranking usurper and feared by all, including Ha’a Havea Lahi chiefs, for such acts as burning down Fangale’ounga, a Vaini colony.
Tupou was crowned ‘Tui Haapai’ High King before his father died in 1820. He inherited problems with Tongatapu’s overlords, particularly with Laufilitonga, the last “Tu’i Tonga,” who attempted to turn his function as a spiritual leader into a political one. The culmination of this struggle was the Battle of Velata in 1826, in which Laufiliutonga was defeated. Tupou declared himself King George of Tonga at his baptism in 1831. His successive victory was the consequence of his friendship with Fnau Uluklala III, the monarch of Vavau.
The King of Tonga was succeeded by his great-grandson twice. He died at the age of 95 in 1893 after swimming in the water near his palace. This makes him one of only two monarchs in history, alongside Louis XIV of France, who is known to have been succeeded by a first-degree succession.
Tupou I Day (in lieu) timeline
On December 4, Tupou I is born in Tonga.
Tupou is crowned the ‘Tui Haapai’ (High King) before his father dies.
Tupou abolishes serfdom in Vavaʻu.
Tupou I dies at the age of 95 after swimming in the water near his palace.
Tupou I Day (in lieu) FAQs
Where is Tonga in the world?
Tonga lies in the South Pacific Ocean, approximately 2,000 miles east of Brisbane, Australia. It has a surface area of around 290 square miles, but the islands are spread out across 270,000 square miles of water. The islands are arranged in a 500-mile line running north and south.
Who are the colonizers of Tonga?
To avert German colonization, Tonga was designated as a British Protectorate in 1900, a position it retained until it achieved complete independence in 1970.
What is the race of Tongan?
Polynesians make up nearly the whole population. Tongans are culturally and linguistically linked to Samoans and other Polynesians genetically. There is also some Melanesian influence as a result of interaction with Fiji.
How to Observe Tupou I Day (in lieu)
Attend national day concerts
After the ceremony at the Royal Palace, there will be a series of concerts held throughout Tonga over the next three days. These shows will feature traditional Tongan dancing, singing, music, and modern performances from some of Tonga's top artists. There are also plenty of stalls selling arts and crafts and food vendors serving up some local delicacies — it's a great place to sample some local culture!
Visit the Royal Tombs of Nuku'alofa
The Royal Tombs of Nuku'alofa is the resting place. This is the only tomb open to public viewing and has been a tourist attraction since then. The tomb also houses other members of the royal family and chiefs from all over Tonga who were buried there because they had no family tombs of their own.
Have a picnic
You don't need much money or fancy equipment to celebrate this day with your friends and family. A simple picnic is all you need. Find a nice spot near the water or anywhere else where there is grass and beautiful scenery and enjoy some food together with your loved ones.
5 Interesting Facts About Tonga
It's an archipelago
Tonga consists of 176 islands, with Tongatapu being the most populated, and most of these islands are small, but some larger ones, like Vava'u, are home to several resorts and attractions.
It's in Polynesia
Tonga is located in Polynesia in the South Pacific Ocean, between New Zealand and Fiji — about halfway between America and Australia on the globe.
One of the smallest capital cities in the world
Tonga's capital city, Nuku'alofa, is one of the smallest capital cities in the world.
English is the official language spoken in Tonga, but there are also other languages such as Fijian, Samoan, Kiribati, and French.
Tonga and Fiji relations
Tongan kings once ruled Fiji, so many Fijians have Tongan ancestry today.
Why Tupou I Day (in lieu) is Important
It's a time to celebrate culture and history
This is an opportunity to learn more about your country's past and how it came to be. It's also an excellent chance to learn more about other cultures in your country and worldwide.
It's a day off work
We're all looking forward to our days off. We count down the minutes until we finally have some free time and can plan a relaxing day, whether it be a weekend, a personal day, or a vacation. We can take advantage of this national holiday.
It's an opportunity for families to spend time together
This holiday often involves family gatherings where people share stories about their ancestors and celebrate their ancestry together.
Tupou I Day (in lieu) dates