Tonga celebrates its long history and heritage, and its position as an island nation, through various festivals throughout the year. Some are localized, such as the Vava’u festival and regatta, while others are celebrated nationally, such as the annual Heilala festival. Most festivals take place during the dry season, and each presents a unique experience.
‘Eua Tourism Festival
Held on the island of ‘Eua, this is one of the first festivals of the annual calendar. It is held in the second week of May and attracts visitors from around the globe to experience and learn about traditional Tongan culture.
Ha’apai Tourism Festival
Held in the second week of June every year, this festival showcases the islands’ finest culinary and cultural delights. It is designed to attract tourists, and plenty come to experience the relaxed atmosphere and to enjoy and learn about traditional Tongan cooking and culture.
The largest festival in Tonga is celebrated nationally. On July 4, Tongans celebrate the birthday of their king, which is then followed by a week-long festival. Almost like clockwork, this time of year coincides with the flowering of the heilala, which is Tonga’s national flower. The locals are proud of this beautiful tropical flower that unfolds a pink, cross-like shape, and as part of the festival, they adorn themselves in heilala necklaces.
Vava’u Festival & Regatta
This week-long festival is held in the last week of September every year. Different activities are scheduled each day, including boat races around the island, although possibly the best day is a culmination of the week’s events at the traditional Tongan Cultural Feast at Ano Beach, which turns into an all-night party.