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
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.
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
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.
An 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).