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Traditions and Customs of Micronesia

The Federated States of Micronesia is a region of islands situated in the Pacific Ocean, believed to be the home of indigenous people. A land that’s surrounded by corals and has islands formed by volcanic activity, Micronesian islands has a scarcity of land, and prone to droughts and cyclones. Therefore, most of the civilians had to be mobile as they kept moving in search of shelter and safety.

Studies show that people first settled in this region of islands about 3,500 to 2,000 years ago, however archeological research has been disrupted due to natural disasters that occur in the islands. Researchers have managed to gather findings that prove that the languages related to Austronesia are similar to the eastern, south east and central part of Micronesia.  The west; Palau, the Marianas and Yap have settled for languages similar to the Philippines and Indonesia. The Micronesian language as a whole is a symbol of the island cultural diversity.

Micronesians depended on plant crops and fishing in shallow reef waters, they also cultivated their own vegetables and managed their own farms. They are more land based rather than sea as they have limited resources, such as the lack of canoes, they did not venture out anywhere else other than their own islands. Therefore, their typical types of food did not get influenced by other countries or regions.

An islander’s life is often satisfying with whatever little they have. Like this, Micronesians are united and get along with their neighbours well. They dedicate time to enjoy, have festivals, visit friends and relatives and molly coddle their children. A positive attitude towards life and in general was adapted by the high islanders as they got through various situations such as natural disasters and the war together.

They had one or more meeting houses; large ones for social gatherings and meetings for community welfare, these were lead by the men but women and children were welcome to observe and smaller meeting houses were for isolating women when they begin to menstruate.

Built on a slight platform, the houses have poor ventilation with thatched roofs and low eves. However, this helps fight rainstorms and other natural disasters. To control mosquitoes they used the smoke from the hearth and plaited mosquito resistant sleeping bags.

Marriage in the Micronesian culture varied as there was wealth that needed to be exchanged and sometimes the higher ranked or “well-off” men are able to have many wives as they please. The families usually live with the man’s family and some with the woman’s but this is not so popular at present. The land however will be passed on to the grandchildren by the grandmother’s side.

Being a Catholic or Christian based region of islands, Micronesian’s also believed in several Gods because of their ancestral influence. As a region of islands with diverse cultures and beliefs the community is closely knit and united; they look out for each other regardless of what impacts their homeland.

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