Customs and traditions
The social life in Kiribati revolves around
the extended family and maneaban, that is, the house
that is the gathering place in every village. The ties
to the family and the home island are important and the
sense of community is strong. You are used to sharing
things and spaces, and often work together, even with
Society is characterized by traditional notions that
the interests of the collective take precedence over the
individual and that politics should be run by older men.
There is often a certain suspicion of individual success
or large private assets.
Overview of the capital city of Kiribati, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
Maneaban is also used when partying, or botaki
. An important botaki is held on a child's one-year
anniversary, especially if it is the first-born child. A
person's 21st birthday is also an important healing
occasion, as is a wedding.
Mauri is a common phrase, meaning both hello
and welcome. It is considered offensive to touch another
person's head, which also applies to children. Nor
should one raise one's arm over another's head. Anyone
who enters the maneaban bends down in front of people
sitting, and is happy to say matauninga (excuse
me). When sitting, make sure your feet are not pointing
to anyone else, but rather sit cross-legged.
It is important not to act too undressed. You only
wear swimwear on the beach. Showing reverence and
humility is important and direct eye contact is often
avoided. Photographing Kiribati is usually good, but you
should ask first.
If you break any "code" - and for example point with
your feet - you can be expected to pay a fine
immediately. It may consist of a coin, tobacco, a pig or
something edible. Anyone who visits a remote island
usually donates tobacco at every shrine on the island.
Building sailing canoes and competing with them is
popular. Volleyball and football are also common sports.
Fish and other things from the sea are an important
part of the diet, as are coconuts in various forms. You
eat coconut, cook with the meat, drink the milk as a
sweet drink and ferment the meat to alcohol. Other
important elements in diet are rice, breadfruit and
pandanus (a kind of palm tree). Boiled and thinly sliced
pandanus fruit covered with coconut cream is popular.
Another common dish is palu sami - coconut
cream with onions and curry in taro leaves cooked in
The most important holiday is Independence Day on
July 12, when parades, parties and competitions are
organized. July is also the day of gospel, celebrating
the arrival of Christianity in Kiribati, as well as a
celebration of the celebration of the elderly. New
Year's Day is a holiday, Women's Day is celebrated on
varying dates in March and National Health Day in April.
Youth Day falls in August and December 11 celebrates
human rights and peace. Otherwise, the Christian
holidays are observed at Easter and Christmas.