Customs and traditions of Cook Islands

Residents of Cook Islands consider themselves true Polynesians and carefully saved their cultural heritage and national identity. Despite the fact that they are officially belonging to the Maori tribal group, their relatives with New Zealand Maori are quite remote. More than 90% of the population of the islands are the descendants of numerous Polynesian peoples, held through the territory of these islands in their migrations on the expanses of the Pacific Ocean. Islands tongue ("Maori Cooki-Airani") Although Maori is called, but actually includes a huge amount of borrowing from various Polynesian dialects, primarily from Fijian, Samoan, Taitian and even some dialects of the Northern Pacific, which only confirms the connection of local tribes with the ancient nations of the sea. Islanders themselves often call their tongue "TE-REO-LPUKAR", What can be translated as "Inherited from homeland", And in every possible way, he emphasizes his difference from both Maori, and from many other adventure regions. What, however, does not prevent them from speaking freely in English, using it in everyday life, and for official communication.

Language of local residents is very singers and abounds with vowels and difthongs, and composite words with many vowels form very complex semantic structures. Even if the islander speaks English, it is often accompanied by a characteristic "singer", What makes it difficult to perceive the local speech perception for Europeans. The same applies to local toponyms – often the names of even remote objects sound like enough, and many of them have several options at once, therefore, when on-site orientation, you should always clarify the exact name and location of a particular object.

About the daughree the islanders are known enough. Only traces of legends about 71 God, 12 Heaven (5 under the sun and 7 above it), an extensive pantheon of various spirits of nature and complex mythology. Attempts by missionaries to completely destroy these beliefs to a large extent, and in our days, the inhabitants of Cook Islands – zealous Christians. The Christian Church of Cook Islands (CICC) is dominated on the Islands, founded by missionaries in the 20s of the XIX century, but other Christian denominations are free.

Despite the explicit European influence, many traditional aspects of the local society remained in the same way as many centuries ago. The main unit of the local community is a clan or tribe, all members of which are related to related relations. Management of the community life is carried out by hereditary (recently often elected leaders on the basis of ancient codes, almost uniform for all peoples of Oceania. Many communities still live quite isolated, only delegating their representatives to the authorities of the central government, and in places keeping practically a tribal system.

The local village is quite an extensive and scattered settlement, the distance between the houses within which it may well reach several tens of meters. We usually live in the village of the members of one family or clan, closely connected by a complex system of relationships and cross-liabilities based on the intricateness of kinship and local rigging. Older people enjoy great respect and authority. Women usually perform homework, and the islanders estimate female labor high and never "Overload" Beautiful half. The man in turn should contain his wife and children exactly to the same extent that they themselves help him. The privileged position is occupied by children – on the one hand, they are taught from childhood to behave decently and respect the elders, on the other they use almost complete freedom within the community. Parents rarely express their feelings in public, since children are considered the same members of the community, as well as the rest, and disappoint them in public or the censure is considered unethical.

When visiting a local village, first of all, to present the leader (or the owner of the house) a small gift (usually this is food, sweets, cigarettes or wine). As in the whole of Oceania, the procedure for donation is surrounded by a huge number of rituals and taboos. A man who refuses a gift risks offending the giving. But he, in turn, must select such a gift that does not cause a felt sense of dependence or some obligations, because for any gift it is necessary to thank the response gesture or gift.

Customs and traditions of Cook Islands

Respect for the owner or other clan members should be open and even somewhat exaggerated. You can not doubt that the tourist, subject to all the norms of decency, will be rendered no less. In principle, the rules of behavior here are quite simple and much different from the pan-European, for example. However, you should never touch the Head of Islanders, even a child – for all local laws is taboo. It is not necessary to raise the voice even in some fun moments – in the local code of behavior, the crymark indicates an open threat. Entering the house, you should shoot shoes. Great Islanders are quite European – handshake.

Dress up the islanders pretty freely and appreciate modesty in clothes, especially outside of tourist complexes. Swimwear and shorts when visiting the local house are unacceptable, as well as sports costumes. For official events, light pants and spacious shirts with medium length sleeves are most suitable. Women when visiting the Church and other public events are not recommended to wear pants. Bathing suits outside the beaches are unacceptable, nudism and topless also cause noticeable disapproval (in many places it is simply prohibited).

An important part of local culture is still dance. Dances are transmitted from generation to generation, and their movements originate in strong oral traditions and chants. Special dances accompany all the important events in the life of the islanders, starting from the birthday (or death), marriage and even an act of buying and selling any significant property. Also on the islands of Cook there is a rich song-dance tradition. Missionaries brought religious chants to the islands, and now local church choirs are famous for all Oceania.

Customs and traditions of Cook Islands

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