The Guide to Easter in Tonga© Tonga Tourism Authority
The Guide to Easter in Tonga

The Guide to Easter in Tonga

© Tonga Tourism Authority

What is Easter Like in Tonga?

Public holidays are usually a time that gets us travellers all confused. What are the local celebrations? Are businesses still open? What is there to do? Easter is one of those times in Tonga when things are a bit different, especially as the public holiday is practically observed for four days straight! As a country of devoted Christians, Tonga takes Easter very seriously, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad time to visit. Learn about the local celebrations and what Easter means for travellers in this guide to Easter in Tonga.

When is Easter?

For those unfamiliar with the Christian holiday, Easter is in either March or April each year. The date of Easter is determined by being the first Sunday after the paschal full moon. In other words, it happens after the vernal equinox. If the full moon falls on a Sunday, Easter will be celebrated on the following Sunday. Easter can occur on any date between March 22 and April 25 but the date is recognised well in advance each year – so just do an online search for “Easter date [year]” and you should find your answer.

Note that the public holiday observed in Tonga for Easter is more than just Easter Sunday. Tonga also observes Good Friday (the Friday before Easter Sunday) and Easter Monday (the Monday after Easter Sunday).

And what is the weather like around Easter? Find out in our guide, Tonga Weather by Month: What is the Weather Like in Tonga?

The Guide to Easter in Tonga©

How Do Tongans Celebrate Easter?

Tonga is a devout Christian nation, so Easter is celebrated with enthusiasm. Usually, Tongans go to church every Sunday, so Easter is a time of one of the most special church services of the year. Locals will turn up to church to sing beautiful harmonies, sometimes accompanied by a brass band from a local high school. Visitors are welcome to attend church services in Tonga, which is a great way to get an insight into the local culture. Just be sure to dress respectfully and follow the advice given in the 10 Best Churches in Tonga for Tourists.

In Tonga’s larger towns, there may be Easter celebrations, such as singing and dance performances in traditional attire. This changes from year to year. You can ask at the local Visitor Information Centres or check the Tonga Tourism website for upcoming events.

Finally, Tongans will spend time with family, usually sharing large dinners or preparing an “umu” (food cooked in a traditional ground oven using hot rocks). Many also spend time at the beach and visit attractions. For instance, ‘Anahulu Cave on Tongatapu gets very busy during public holidays.

Learn more about Tonga and Christianity in The Guide to the Religions in Tonga.

The Guide to Easter in Tonga(c)

What Easter Means for Tourists in Tonga

Easter is usually when travellers can take time off work to visit Tonga, but what is Easter like for travellers in Tonga? First, travellers need to know that Good Friday to Easter Monday are public holidays, so many shops and services close for this period. This also includes some of the tourism operators, such as boat tours, sightseeing tours, snorkelling tours, etc.

Even on a normal Sunday in Tonga, there are laws against businesses operating on this “holy day”. However, some of the few businesses that are exempt from such laws are tourist accommodations, such as resorts and hotels, and licensed restaurants.

If you need to do some shopping for groceries, for instance, it’s best to do it before Good Friday.

On the plus side, the local airline has been known to run specials during the Easter weeks in the past, so you may be able to get discounted flights between island groups – find out more in How Much Does it Cost to Fly in Tonga?

How Visitors Can Celebrate Easter in Tonga

The first thing we would recommend for visitors to Tonga at Easter is attending an Easter church service. Even if you’re not a regular church-goer, it’s still well worth the experience for the spectacular harmonies. Church services take place on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, usually from 10 am to 12 pm. See the 10 Best Churches in Tonga to Experience as a Visitor for which church to visit.

Other events typically take place around the Easter break, however, these change year-on-year so ask at the local information centre, see the local newspapers, or check out the events page of Tonga Tourism‘s website for the latest Easter events.

What Else Can Visitors Do During the Easter Break?

If you don’t want to celebrate Easter and just enjoy your “island time”, then there’s still plenty to do despite restaurants, businesses and tour operators being closed.

It’s still business as usual at Tonga’s resorts, hotels and beach fales at Easter, so have a cocktail, an evening meal (bookings advised for this popular time when other restaurants are closed), a swim at the beach or kick back with a good book. Some resort restaurants run Easter specials, so keep an eye out. Get inspiration for resorts to stay at from The Top 25 Resorts in Tonga.

The Easter break is also a good time to take a self-guided tiki tour around your chosen island. One of the best islands to explore during this time is Tongatapu, see our Self-Guided Itinerary. Although Vava’u is usually good to explore for sightseeing, there are usually restrictions for visiting sights on government land on Sundays (which may include public holidays). We also have independent day-trip itineraries for ‘Eua and Ha’apai which are also suitable for public-holiday sightseeing.

For more inspiration for activities that can be done at Easter, check out the 10 Things to Do in Tonga on a Sunday – the activities still apply to Easter by having the same restrictions.

The Guide to Easter in Tonga©

Other Public Holidays in Tonga

Easter is just one of many Christian holidays that Tonga observes. Other public holidays in Tonga include:

  • January 1 – New Year’s Day
  • Changeable between March 22 and April 25 – Good Friday
  • Changeable between March 22 and April 25 – Easter Monday
  • April 25 – ANZAC Day
  • The Monday following June 4 – Emancipation Day
  • July 4 (if it falls on a Sunday, will be moved to the following Monday) – King Tupou VI’s Birthday
  • September 17 – Birthday of Crown Prince
  • The Monday following November 4 – Tonga Day
  • The Monday following December 4 – King Tupou I Day
  • December 25 – Christmas Day
  • December 26 – Boxing Day

Learn more about these dates in the Public Holidays in Tonga (& Other Important Dates).

More About Easter and Holidays in Tonga

That’s it for our complete guide to Easter in Tonga. Need more seasonal inspiration? Check out these guides:

Finally, fill up the rest of your time on the islands with the 101 Best Things to Do in Tonga: The Ultimate List.


Robin (Lopini) C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before settling in the South Pacific, so he knows a thing or two about planning the perfect trip in this corner of the world. Robin works and consults regularly with the Ministry of Tourism of Tonga. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides and is a regular host of webinars with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

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