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Humanities 133 Micronesia Culture

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Trista Britton

Micronesia

The Micronesian islands are full of many diverse cultures and people.  They are classified as four different federated states (FSM), but all together consist of 600+ tiny islands.  The four states are Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae.  You can find information on these islands from over 2000 years ago. (Micronesia Culture)

        The four FSM all share the Same Christian beliefs and values.  Religion and family, along with hospitality, are some of the most important values of the Micronesian cultures.  English dominates as the language, but there are many other languages from the different islands. (Lustig, M. W., & Koester, J.) The people of these islands like to entertain and incorporate their networks of clans and families with traditional storytelling and music.  You will find from some of the major islands and clans, there are very distinct dances and rituals that have been passed down from generation to generation.  (Micronesia Culture) 

        All the islands have similarities and differences from the other islands.  Yap is the western-most island and has some very distinct cultural features.  Meeting houses are like a modern-day community center, Stone Money is a Yap currency, the Churu’ (a traditional dance).  The local attire of Yap is called lava lava; women wear grass skirts and men wear loin-cloths color coated to his rank in the village.  Chuuk has the Love stick; like a modern dating game. The young men of the village personalize a wooden stick and offer it to a woman.  If she likes him, she pulls the stick and invites him into her hut.  If not, she will push out the stick.  Chuuk also has a history of ghosts, which is why they have a story called the Devil Mask.  Chuuk is also famous for the Chuuk dress – a lavish FSM island still known for its colorful and intricate patterns.  Pohnpei is the most westernized of all the islands.  The Pohnpeian skirt is another well-known fashion of the FSM islands.  Pohnpei has a famous local drink called Sakau, which is spreading to the other states, and the Pohnpeian pepper that is renowned for being the best in the world.  Lastly Kosrae is known for it’s citrus production of oranges, limes and tangerines – it is a must have for any visitor. (The Federated States of Micronesia)

        Despite some of the distinct differences of all the islands and cultures, there are quite a few things that bring all the islands together in similar values and relations. (Lustig, M. W., & Koester, J.)  All islanders are well versed in crafting items like a hut, traps, canoes, and weaving a mat.  Some of the islands may have a focus, but most of the people have a skill.  Betel-Nut is another commonality as it is the form of chewing tobacco on the islands.  Fruits and crops can be found all over the islands as it is a tropical fruit haven.  The staple fruits which are also found on any of the island are yam, banana, coconuts, crabs, pig, and chicken.  It is common for Pigs to be raised by every family for ceremonial purposes (weddings and feasts).  (The Federated States of Micronesia)

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