Life in Kiribati/Culture/Dancings

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Culture of the I-Kiribati people

Culture for the I-Kiribati involve their ways of life. The I-kiribati people are a communal people who love getting together in many aspects of life. Inevitably dancing and feasting are common threads of life in Kiribati. Where people gather, there is bound to be laughter, merry making and dancing and feasting. The following shows some insights into a typical social function.Return to Life in Kiribati

Where There is Food There is Bound To Be Feasting

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In any gathering, the underlying elements are food and drinks for the feast. The more food there is the more serious is the party. Seen here is a gathering of people around a table of food and drinks. This is a core part of our community involvement in our local affairs. Where there is a festival, there is food, and willing people who join in the festival. The stable food of the I-Kiribati people centre around fish. Their bigger environment is the Pacific Ocean, which is rich in sea resources including lagoon and ocean marine life and fish. Fish for Kiribati is readily available and even women can sustain their stable diet of fish by fishing using local or conventional means. The I-Kiribati people are well adapted to their marine environment. There have been stories of Kiribati fishermen roaming the pacific ocean for long periods of time living off the ocean for food found available in the ocean during these long journeys. Return to Life in Kiribati

There are Kids Around

The feasting is a family affair. Everyone participates. The old as well as the new are participants. These kids will develop in these cultures and will inherit the traditions of their forefathers and society. Shown on the photo is Katiata Tebania who accompanies his parents to the farewell feast for Nei Temwakei on Sunday 26th August 2007. Katiata is a primary school Year 4 student. He loves playing and large gatherings. Of course if there is fun and activities children will love to be involved. Such is the case for Katiata. Katiata is a growing up I-Kiribati who is led to believe in communityship and festivities. These kids grow up amongst a community of relatives, friends, and villagers who share the same ideals, values, beliefs, and aspirations. One of the former is a lot of gatherrings and merry making festivals.Return to Life in Kiribati

Garlanding of Guests

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It is traditional to honour guests by garlanding them. This photo show a group of women performing the garlanding ceremony and using dance as a medium to do so.Some of the dances are superb and displays the skills, and expertise of traditional dancers frorm Kiribati.Return to Life in Kiribati

A Feast Full of People

As usual ceremonies are lined by the present women and men. The groups usually involve the old and the new. It is common to see a line of generations present in any gathering. This is a show of real communityship, and traverse all generations and across all gender. At least in Kiribati a ceremony holds a similar meaning for all age groups and for all gender and groups a community together.Return to Life in Kiribati

The Line of Men

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Likewise a ceremony is lined with men of ranks. Up in front will be the old men - also known as the 'wise' men, followed by generative younger men in the back bench. These young men are from the 'Makoro' called 007. It is the second Group from the East. There are 10 groups altogether in Bikenibeu. They are i) Causeway, ii) 007, iii) Mauanako, iv) Te Reirei, v) Kamauanea, iv) Kamatauea, vii) Te Runga ni mane, viii) Te Ununiki, ix) Atakibe, and x) Marenaua.Return to Life in Kiribati

Reaching The End of A Journey

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Seen in the photo is Nei Mwakei shaking hands with members of the Bikenibeu congregation. This is a normal end activity involved when someone important from the village is leaving the village. In photo are members of one group from KPC Bikenibeu - 007 who are members of the congregation. Return to Life in Kiribati

Life in Melody

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In this photo Dr. Alolae Cati is seen with the choir. This group of men provides the entertainment for the group while the women are having their meal. The choir in church gatherings plays a central role in knitting the group together. It provides a basis for communal cohesion and harmonious relationships.

Together We Stand, Eat, and Move On

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Lined up is the village 'aiabu'. This is a typical feasting style for the I-Kiribati people at a church gathering. Usually the long linen of cloth is spread in the middle of the Maneaba. Then groups fill it up with their own contributions of dishes. At the end the honoured guests then enter the 'aiabu' from the centre while the old and elderly then join at adjacent ends of the 'aiabu'. Usually the men eat first. When they finish the women then clears the feast and they themselves eat in their own 'boti'. The feast as prepared by the various participants constitutes the variety of home made dishes. Usually a centrally prepared 'pig' supplements the provision. Return to Life in Kiribati

The Maneaba is a Stage - Everyone has a Different Part to Play

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This is the 'aiabu' under construction. In the photo are two young women from Causeway returning after they have delivered their dishes to the 'aiabu'. The young women wears their unifrom which is the navy blue bottom and with white tops. The Causeway group is one of the largest group in Bikenibeu KPC.Return to Life in Kiribati

A Community of Listeners

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During the ceremony at different spaces young and old men sit patiently participating mainly by hearing and responding by regular calls to applause and laughter. Pictured is the present chair of the KPC community in Bikenibeu. He is from the Runga ni Mane. Return to Life in Kiribati

The Pig and The Feast

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During this feast, pork supplements the village contributions. Seen here are two young women from TeReirei attending to the pork. They distributes the pork to the men at feast. The pig is provided by the central organising committee. Pork is a stable in a big ceremony in Kiribati. If there is pork it means the feast is really big and serious.Return to Life in Kiribati

The 'Aiabu' in Kiribati

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Seen here are old men and younger men in attendance at the feast. The feast is made up of food and all eligible men who by right can join the circle of 'men'. The food includes fish, pork, local and imported food, and home made dishes. Raw fish is a favourite dish in Kiribati and is present in all feast menus. Imported food includes rice, fruits, meat and tin foods. Most of the trade in Kiribati is between Australia and New Zealand.Return to Life in Kiribati

A Community of People Acting Together

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The photo shows Eriuta from Te Reirei group in attendance at the 'aiabu'. Eriuta is a devoted christian and is on Tarawa beacuse his wife works at the Teacher's College. The 'aiabu' is a collection of men and food. The communal set up shows the will of the community to participate, eat, underatke and do things together. It is a show of common underatnding, belief, values, and aspirations. Such is a strong culture in Kiribati and which binds the Kiribati society together. Return to Life in Kiribati

Men First, plus Guests Also

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The norm is men in front and having feasts first. The photo however shows Nei Mwakei and Rineieta in attendance at the feast and having the first service. This is because the feast is in honour of Nei Temakei who is leaving Bikenibeu. Nei Rineieta is the current chair of the RAK group of the women. In this respect she was asked to accompany Nei Mwakei and that is why she is sitting among the men and having the first choice.Return to Life in Kiribati

The Young Men of 007 Group

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The photo shows Tebania Tebakabo from the group 007 in attendance at the village farewell feast. This shows the young men as partners and supporters of the old men and the village functions. During the gathering after meals usually the function involve speeches and counter speeches. Usually they constitute appreciations and counter appreciations for services, gestures, tokens and in general overtures of good will vital for communal survival. Return to Life in Kiribati

The Old Women of Kiribati

In the photo is Nei Abunaba. She is one of the oldest women in Bikenibeu. Yet at the age of over 80 she still walks, is active in church activities, sings at the sunday choir and is very much an active woman. She is seen here in attendance with other women from Causeway group. Return to Life in Kiribati