Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tongan Cemetery Quilts

I am waaay behind in my blogging and really plan to catch up over the holidays (yes really!). But in the meantime I now have these photographs of the unique Tongan cemetery quilts that my sister took on her recent trip to Tonga to oversee their first elections.

These quilts are made by the deceased person’s loved ones and are extremely individual – I imagine as individual as each person during their lives.

And here are just some of them:












Until next time,

Helen Evans


  1. Amazing, Helen! Thanks for posting the photos.

    A lot of work has gone into them - I'm wondering when they are made - because these look like fresh graves so covered in flowers. Do people start sewing as soon as someone dies? Or are the quilts put up at some point after the burial, and lots of flowers added at the same time? Do they remain there? Or are they taken down at some point? So many questions!

  2. These are amazing quilts and fabulous photos. Thanks for sharing with us. Janine S in Perth, WA

  3. Malo E Lelei!
    Thank you for sharing these photos! My parents are from Tonga, but We all reside here in the USA. I go back at times to visit cousins, aunts and uncles occasionally. Anyhow, Just a lil background of these quilts and why they are hung, it is called the Tapu, and is hung after the deceased is burried. The majority of the time, they are left up til the deceased 1st yr anniversary where it is taken down, and new decorations maybe put up. Alot of times, the family has a quilt ready for a person, for example, those who have elderly family members, but in cases where it is an unexpected death, theres usually at least one female relative, who is able to get a quilt ready (with of course some help from other female relatives) from the time that person has passed to the time of the burial.
    God Bless and Happy New Year!

  4. Great to get the answers to my questions! Thank you Jon for posting that information.