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Marshall Islands Culture and Traditions

Customs and traditions

Although traditional Micronesian culture is now influenced by a modern, Western-inspired lifestyle, the family and village community are still central concepts in most Marshallese lives. The family usually includes both grandparents and grandparents, uncles and distant cousins.

At the center of village life is also the land and its ownership. All residents should in principle have the right to land, but it is jointly owned by the clan. A village chief (iroij), together with the clan chief (alap), has the right to decide how the land should be distributed and used.

  • Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of Marshall Islands, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.

Out in the small villages, residents still eat traditional foods such as fish, breadfruit, taro (root cane) and coconuts in various forms. Sometimes birds, eggs, pork and chicken are also cooked. In the overpopulated cities, however, city dwellers usually live on imported food and ready-to-eat foods. Common foods there are preserves, sugar, flour, rice, coca-cola and coffee.

The stepfamily usually lives together in a few separate households with a common cookhouse. Children from the age of five help with simpler tasks in the household and the elderly contribute with appropriate chores such as weaving or cooking utensils.

Just as in all hierarchically stratified societies, elders and superiors (chieftains and clan leaders) should be shown great respect. Elderly and village leaders can sometimes speak in a subordinate place, despite the fact that he stands side by side.

Culture and Traditions of Marshall IslandsAn important occasion is a child's first birthday. Then the whole clan is often gathered to celebrate with singing, dancing and food.

Death is not considered to be strictly separate from life. It is instead a transition from one existence to another where the individual becomes an ancestor who watches over the survivors and the earth.

National holidays are New Year's Day (January 1), the day in memory of the victims of the nuclear weapons explosions (March 1), Good Friday (March 30), National Day (May 1; Independence Day 1979), Fishermen's Day (July 6), Workers' Day (September 7), Culture Day (September 28), President's Day (November 17), Gospel Day (December 7), and Christmas Day (December 25). (The date is 2018).


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