Customs and traditions of Kiribati
Most of the inhabitants of Kiribati still live in houses built on the same principle that they built 600-700 years ago, still speaks in their ancient language, uses centuries-old fishing skills, the construction of canoes, cooking, sings ancient songs and dances the same Dancing that their grandparents danced. Rustic life on any of the atolls, despite tourists, sailing, Christianity and long British dominion, retained traditions and customs inherent in this proud people. Nevertheless, recently, the country is more and more turning to Western civilization, taking not only external attributes and organizations, but also actively embedded in the global economy. Kiribati stands at the crossroads and who knows whether its authenticity and originality will remain in the near future, or disappears under the pressure of ruthless crops as old and new light.
Residents of Gilbert Islands – Some of the most proud, restrained and polite in a large family of Pacific peoples. The descendants of the bold conquers of the Great Ocean, they have absorbed in their blood respect and understanding this boundless water space. These are beautiful navigas, still covering the distances of the sea miles on their canoe only in order to see the relatives living in other islands. These are beautiful fishermen who own such skills and receptions that were unknown to Europeans. These are very devout people who know how to combine Christian dogmas and the age-old faith of their ancestors, still believe in witchcraft ("Tobuna") and spirits ("anti"), and especially predatory to the commandments of ancestors. Many Europeans consider them extremely lazy and incapable of carrying out any difficult work. Partly this is so – to make something of the local resident is simply impossible, and they do not tolerate various mechanical work on the Spirit. However, it is necessary to look like and-Kiribati treated canoeing or fishing gear, as the opinion about them immediately changes. Just the islanders do not tolerate coercion and work from under the stick, but live in their inner graphics, which does not match the once and forever the fleeing schedule of Europeans.
Traditionally, besides land, the overwhelming number of residents of Kiribati has very few things, literally the minimum. The property and Kiribati include canoeing, weapons, ax, dishes, a mosquito network, mats and. and all! But the Earth is considered the highest value given to man. According to local traditions, the Earth cannot be given, sold or donated to another person, she simply can’t belong to the one who has no ancestors given to her. Therefore, according to, there were always rare wars and civilians here, there could never emerge collective farms and large settlements. So far, all operations with the Earth are prohibited by the local legal system, only grave crimes in front of the whole community can be engaged with the rejection of the Earth. Earth can only be inherited, and then only close to relative. But the buildings and structures do not have almost no price – they quickly come into decay and also quickly restore.
Clan ("UTU") – the basis of local society. People of each village ("Kinga") considered and consider all members "UTU" His brothers and sisters. The head of the family or elder is the most respected member of society, his "supervisor" And the keeper of traditions. There were no real leaders here and not yet – according to local traditions, no man can impose his will and his opinion to another, what would not be explained. Usually leadership in the settlement ("Kaarance") belongs to the oldest man whose name is "Batua", "Atun-Te-Cain" (head of settlement) or "Te-Ikawai" ("old"). Elders ("Beliest") lead all major beginnings of the community – whether it is the construction of a new "Manaaba" or squeeze some family to a new place. They laid the first stone (or in local conditions – the pillar) in the foundation of the buildings"Mwenga" or "Tekateca") They are responsible for the transfer of traditions and young people skills, they also solve controversial issues. The oldest descendant of the founder of the village is most. Elder organized the work distribution and the general management of the settlement limits, represented him in business relations with others "Kinga" near. He, for example, arranged marriages and adoptions, led negotiations with other clans, represented a settlement at meetings and ceremonies, and could even be the story of all residents to a new place. He could have reprimanded a violator of local laws and even send him or her outside the community. But on this, his power and ended – it could not make anyone outside of their powers. The wife of the Elders led by the women of the settlement and followed the children.
Within the local family, the woman was a companion man, not his slave. Moreover, local wives did not engage in manual labor, they always needed only to show attention to home affairs and a little help a man. But helping men fishing, building a house or harvesting is not required at all. But unmarried women were considered unnecessary community members and were often called "Nikiranroro" ("waste"). Multiple met infrequently, only one woman could be considered his wife, but the sister of his wife or head of the family could live in the house, the brother widow, numerous aunts and cousins. Pregnant women leave the husband’s house and live almost badly in the parents’ house, following the huge amount of taboos and rituals, so that the perfume does not make harm to the future child. High demands are imposed on the products consumed by it, with which many tabs are also associated. If a boy is born, then the father’s cord is happening or a badge, and if a girl, then a sorceress or an overworn grandmother. And the birth of the ceremony is celebrated "Te-Kauraaura", on which there are all family relatives, for which a special drink is preparing "Kabuboy" Pandanus fetal chips.
The divorce in local traditions is very simple that there has always been the cause of conflicts between the islanders and the Catholic Church. Usually, it is committed by elders by mutual agreement of the parties, and no mutual accusations of laying are not approved – everything must be issued respectfully and without scandals. Adultery, poor care for each other or three years of separation of spouses considered sufficient reasons for termination of marriage.
Another tradition – adoption. Local parents completely gently convey their child to raising other members of the family or friends, and instead adopt a child from another family. Formally, this contributed to the establishment of closer ties between the clans and that in the isolated communities of small islands it is important, prevented in a heavily – the real beat of the local society. The receiving child inherited the land of his adoptive parents as confirmation of the adoption act and enjoyed all the rights of a member of the clan.
According to customs, the eldest son in the family receives the greatest share of the Earth, but he must take care of his parents in old age. Older people usually live in the family of a son or daughter, having status "Tyu" (grandmother and grandfather). Long-livers were regarded as pleasing spirits and surrounded even more honorary. The procedure for the distribution of land inheritance is called "Te-Katautau" – Possible heirs are going to the head of the head of the family and bypass the parental land, in the process of which they are indicated by their sites. Special arrangements between parents, according to which children are divided into two groups, one of which inherits the Earth of the Father, and the other – the Earth of Mother.
Head for locals sacred. "Do it, or I will blow your head!" – So the highest insult sounds. There is no need for actual impact on the head – in this case, it is enough to contradict, because even touching another person is unacceptable here. Take something, bringing the host’s head extremely impolite. Even children will literally collide, it’s worth a hand to reach their heads to anyone (you can imagine what horror they were tested during traditional Christian rituals). And touching the head of the elder – the guaranteed scandal.
"Manaaba" or "Mwaneaba" – Community prayer house, which is usually built at the base of the village the first. This is rectangular in terms of building based on high poles and covered instead of walls with straw mats. "Manaaba" well adapted to climate of the islands, in the heat here is cool, and in the rain – dry. Build a prayer house usually an elder who is obliged to know and remember thousands of rituals, for the construction "Manaaba" accompanied here by the vile taboo and rites. First, a stone pillar is erected in the center of the northern side, then the same – in the southern one (the parties are somewhat different from each other), then the roof is erected and the door (it must be low, so that no one can enter the building, without bowing), and only then the walls are facing mats. Nearby is necessarily put "Military canoe" tribes and just like canoe or village itself, each "Manaaba" has its own name, tradition and individuality. Each village highlights in "Manaaba" Special places "BACTI" For perfumes and ancestors, to which even people from this settlement, living far beyond.
It is usually discussed here a wide variety of issues related to the life of the village, starting with solving some conflicts and ending with the distribution of the crop. And every decision taken here is performed immaculately, for it is believed that in his adoption perfumes, and it is impossible to deceive them ("taboo"). Inside "Manaaba" There is a strict code of etiquette. Elders are sitting at the most honorable place. Guest occupies B "Manaaba" The same place as your homely prayer house (or what will be shown), the person leading his pedigree from several clans must choose free space. "Meetings" Conducted once and for all of the established order – one clan declares the types of crop, another divides it, the third directly distributes. Also with other issues – each clan has its own role in the rite. Moreover, the order and care of the ceremony is observed by holy – any error or the slightest oblivion of tradition is perceived as an insult. And the very food distribution carried out in view of a very strict system of priorities – the inhabitants of the islands are extremely sensitive to such matters.
The set of beliefs associated here with frigates (Fregata) – large, but very light seabirds detachment copepods. On all the islands have to build and build special platform "Kai-no-CATIC", placing them usually on the terraces near the sites for the competitions. There are a number of special tricks to move past the nesting frigates without disturbing them. A woman may not touch the frigate under any circumstances.
Mealtime very dependent on various ceremonies and precepts, but typically between 8 breakfast Islanders.00 and 9.00 am, after the morning’s work, and dine in the sunset hour. At the same time, at any time, even at night, the locals can arrange impromptu dinner some food left over from the evening. Begin the meal, men, women also come to the table after they. Older men are usually given first choice of dishes. Then each member of the family picks up anything you want, but trust grandchildren the right to choose something for his grandfather and entertain.
Guests usually have a focus on a par with the elders, and to refuse the invitation to share a meal is difficult. Guest, respectively, must first select some course and offer it to the owner of a house or an elder. This tradition is called "te-taarika", and also apply to any ritual food offered to the gods. refusal to comply "te-taarika", It is believed to be the guest relates to the category of "soil oneself" ("damn"). All participants in the meal after it started are free to choose any dish from the table, in any order. The only food preferences of a general nature – the principle "Tanna", that is, a combination of fish and something sweet, not a green or garnish. The most frequently "Tanna" It is used in the case of oily fish like "Rabon" (Deep-sea eel) or meat of guinea pig. Meal usually ends with drinks "Kamaimai", "sea bannerfish" or pure water.
Good manners require a guest, so he showed saturation regardless of the actual amount of food eaten. Special sign for this is not, but very much appreciated stroking his own belly with statements like "good food sleepy", "riba" ("I can no longer") or "tibutaua" ("bloated from eating"). There is also a sign of good tone refers the custom to give something to the owner. Therefore, when you visit any of the local houses is recommended to take a couple of cartons of cigarettes and small gifts for other family members.
Very strict rules of etiquette accompany the use of "Te-Kabuboy". In dry form, the product has the form of swarf and to feed it on the table, it is mixed with water. Bowl for the first drink half filled with chips, then filled with water so that its level did not reach the edges of exactly one centimeter. After the mixture was stirred for several minutes infusion, it is stirred with a piece of green leaf pandanus drink and first time. After emptying the bowl pellet was poured water and the process is repeated as long as at the bottom will remain negligible amount of powder. Only then can make a traditional gesture of satisfaction "te-tararake" (Head with an open mouth and leans back a few seconds a person looks at the sky).
reception often leads the entire village or community, and then to all members of the group sent messengers, and they will certainly come to "banquet", no matter how far away are and what they do. Each will bring some food and will do its utmost to help (or hinder) the organization of events. They may also be invited members of the neighboring clans or friendly, which is the highest sign of respect for the guest, and then the event may take several days. Also organizes weddings and celebrated the birth of the child, although in this case is so complex ceremonial obligations no. But in all sorts of religious activities of various rituals are of paramount importance – each "Kaing" In such cases, has its own exceptional rights and obligations that jealously were carried out in the old days and are not forgotten until now.
The same important ceremonial value is in the life of the islanders tattoo. The custom of applying various images to the body went from belief that the spirit-gatekeeper is a Neu-Karamakun, guarding the blessed lands, where a person should get after death, defines a person by his beauty. If he sees a beautifully performed tattoo, he pecks her, and a person gets a pass to the afterlife. If he does not find anything beautiful, then he lays his eyes, so the spirit of the deceased is next blind and never find the gate to the best world. Therefore, the schemes and rites of the tattooing on the islands are very complex and confused, and each drawing has its meaning, available only by dedicated.
Norms relating to the shape of clothing here are very free. The islanders still go almost everywhere in shorts and T-shirts, only for solemn events surrounding according to local etiquette. Short sleeve shirt and light trousers will be appropriate for a tourist in the overwhelming majority.