Saturday 29 June 2019

The Major Religions Practised in Tuvalu

About 97% of Tuvalu's population Christian.

Tuvalu is an island nation in Polynesia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, Tuvalu covers an area of only 26 square km and had a population of 10,640 in 2012. The majority of the country’s residents are of Polynesian origin, while only 5.6% of the population are of Micronesian descent. Most of Tuvalu’s residents (97%) are Christians. In particular, these Tuvaluans are members of the Congregational Christian Church of Tuvalu, which is sometimes referred to simply as the Church of Tuvalu.

The Most Popular Religion in Tuvalu

Christianity is the predominant religion in Tuvalu. In particular, 94% of Tuvalu's population are Protestant Christians. More than 91% of Protestant Christians in Tuvalu are members of the Church of Tuvalu, 3% are members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and about 4.6% belong to the Brethren Church. There is also a small population of Roman Catholics in Tuvalu. The Church of Tuvalu, which is the country’s state church, performs services on important national events and festivals. Each of the country's islands have alikis, who are traditional chiefs and members of the Church of Tuvalu. They are responsible for overseeing church duties on their respective islands. A new Christian group named the Tuvalu Brethren Church has about 500 adherents throughout the country.

Other Religions in Tuvalu

Tuvalu also has small populations of adherents of Islam, the Bahá'í Faith, and other religions. Most adherents of these religions live in or near the capital city of Funafuti. However, Nanumea Island has a significant population of adherents of the Bahá'í Faith, who account for 3% of Tuvalu's population. There are also Muslim and atheist populations in Tuvalu. Approximately 50 Ahmadiyya Muslims live in the country.
Religious Freedom and Tolerance in Tuvalu
Tuvalu’s constitution allows its citizens to practice the religion of their choice. Citizens are also allowed to convert to another religion by their own will, and forced conversions or discrimination on the basis of religion is not permitted. Religious education is not offered in Tuvalu’s schools.

Some cases of religious discrimination have occurred in Tuvalu, but were dealt with through the country’s legal system. The government of Tuvalu generally respects its citizens rights and freedoms regarding religion as outlined in the constitution. The act of proselytizing is allowed in Tuvalu as long as it does not violate the freedom of others to convert at their own will.

By Oishimaya Den Nag

•culled from

Friday 28 June 2019

The Culture Of Tuvalu

Coconut is an important ingredient in the Tuvaluan cuisine.

The Polynesian island country of Tuvalu , located in the Pacific Ocean, hosts a population of only around 10,640 inhabitants. Tuvaluans of Polynesian and Micronesian descent account for 96% and 4% of the country’s population, respectively. Christianity is the religion of the vast majority of Tuvaluans with 98.4% of the population adhering to various Protestant Christian denominations. Tuvaluan and English are the official languages of the country and the Ikiribati language is spoken on the island of Nui.

5. Cuisine of Tuvalu

Coconut and fish are the staples of the Tuvaluan diet. Coconut trees grow in plenty in the tropical environs of the island country. Coconut flesh, water, and milk are all used in preparing Tuvaluan dishes. Swamp taro or pulaka and rice are important sources of carbohydrates in the diet. Bananas and breadfruit are also widely consumed. Seafood adds the necessary proteins to the diet. It includes a variety of fishes, coconut crab, seabirds, etc. Pork is also another source of animal protein.

4. Tuvaluan Literature and Arts

The tradition of written literature is almost non-existent in the country. However, Tuvalu has a rich traditional art and craft scene. Handicrafts in the country are produced using cowrie and other shells. Tuvaluan women are experts at crochet work. The country’s artists have recently focussed on the issue of climate change, a raging issue in the country. Tuvalu is one of the countries that are most threatened by rising sea levels .

3. Performance Arts in Tuvalu

Folk songs and dances of the country focussed on the indigenous animistic religious beliefs and magic. They were highly suppressed by the Christian missionaries during colonial rule. However, they experienced a revival post-independence. Dancing songs are Tuvalu’s most common traditional songs. Fakanau (a praise song and dance), fakaseasea (a dance performed by young unmarried women) and fatele are popular dances of Tuvalu. Folk costumes like the te titi tao (a traditional skirt), teuga saka (traditional tops), armbands, headbands, jewelry, etc., are adorned by the dancers during such performances. Te Vaka is an Oceanic music group of the country which performs original Pacific music.

2. Sports in Tuvalu

Ano and kilikiti are two popular traditional sports played in the country. The former is a form of localized volleyball while the latter is similar to cricket. Lance throwing, foot racing, wrestling, fencing, etc., are some of the other Tuvaluan traditional sports. Foreign games like basketball, handball, rugby, etc., are also played in the country. Football is played at both the club and national levels.

1. Life in the Tuvaluan Society

The Tuvaluan society generally believes in the equality of the genders. However, women are more associated with household chores and infant care than men. Women do work outside their homes to participate in economic activities like reef fishing and collecting, harvesting some crops, and weaving. Men carry out the more labor-intensive activities like open sea and lagoon fishing, coconut and palm gathering, etc. Men also enjoy most of the higher ranks in politics, administration, and civil services.

Marriages are widely prevalent in society. Marriages are based on both personal choice and kinship alliance. Different tribes have their own marriage norms and preferences for endogamy or exogamy. However, marriages between relatives are prohibited. Interactions between cousins of the opposite sex are constrained in the Tuvaluan society. In the past, they were expected to avoid each other's presence. Even today, such pairs must avoid speaking unless absolutely necessary. Polygyny, although common in the past, is now uncommon. Today, Christianity influences the attitudes of the people towards marriages. Divorces and remarriages are also on the rise.
The size of household units ranges from nuclear to extended, depending on tribal norms and rules. Usually, the residence is patrilocal. However, matrilocal residence is also common among some tribes. The eldest man or woman usually has the highest authority in the household. Traditionally, sons inherit the property and other family assets with the eldest sons being given the highest preference.

Childcare is usually ensured by the mother and other female relatives including female siblings of the infant. Education is valued but school dropouts are common among the poor.

Social status plays an important role in Tuvaluan society. Persons of a lower status are expected to maintain a certain respectable distance from those belonging to a higher status. Positive politeness is valued in conversations.

By Oishimaya Sent Nag

•culled from

Thursday 27 June 2019

Slovak Music

Slovak music tells a story. It has been said that by listening to its music, you can visit a country through time and collective experience. This notion is certainly apparent with Slovak music.

An encounter with it charts the course of changing times, moods, and feeling of the place. It’s not difficult to imagine a shepherd inspired by the snowy peaks of the Tatras making soulful music out of a long wooden tube known as the fujara. Or liturgical and chamber music figuring prominently in the country’s many churches and cathedrals; villages celebrating weddings, harvests, and holidays with special songs; the Roma with their close-knit community and rich musical traditions creating impressive sounds; as well as contemporary musical styles influencing the changing generations.

Slovak Fujara

The fujara is a contrabass instrument that creates a long, resonant timbre. Included in the UNESCO list of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, it was originally played by shepherds; now it can be heard in folk festivals, such as those of Vychodna and Detva. Along with the fujara, you will find other traditional instruments in Slovakia such as konkovna, bagpipes, and the jaw harp.

Slovak Liturgical and Chamber Music

Slovak music in this category can be classified as church music and instrumentals played in towns and courts. Liturgical songs in the Old Slavonic language were recorded as early as the Great Moravian Empire in the 9th century; it served as the precursor to much of the country’s development of church music, along with Latin plainsong that was popular within the Kingdom of Hungary.

Slovak Classical Composers

In the 15th century, Slovakia was influenced by the Italian concertante style. Some notable composers working with this style included Samuel Capricornus and Johann Kusser. Later, Frantisek Xaver Budinsky became well-regarded; his works include three symphonies.

Nowadays, orchestral ensembles include the State Philharmonic Orchestra of Kosice, Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Slovak Chamber Orchestra. Festivals in this category include the Bratislava Music Festival, Indian Summer in Levoca, and the Festival of Piestany.

There are also three opera companies in the country.

The Role of Slovak Folk Music

Throughout Slovakia’s history, folk music developed independently in many regions, creating a rich heritage over time; naturally, national music traditions eventually incorporated it, so that modern music from the 19th century onwards fused both classical and folk elements. Exemplary composers working in this vein included Jan Bella, Liptovsky Mikulas, as well as Alexander Moyzes and Jan Cikker.

Slovak Roma Music

The music of the Roma, also known as Gypsies, also draws on a long, established tradition. To hear it is to be let in on a passionate lyrical voyage punctuated with plaintive lyrics. Typically, professional musical performance was restricted to males only; male bands comprised of violin, bass (contrabass) and dulcimer. Traditionally, Roma bands were hired to perform in weddings, and other celebrations. Subsequently, the music often bears Slovak and Romani lyrics. There are two main forms of songs: slow songs without a set rhythm, and dance songs.

Like other musical styles, Roma music has undergone transformation and fusion with different styles. Rom-pop is one current trend, in which strands of traditional Romani songs are applied in a pop context. Festivals dedicated to Roma music include the International Gypsy Fest, and Khamoro (in the Czech Republic).

Contemporary Slovak Music

Starting in the 1950s, popular music trends trumped traditional folk music. Jazz, R&B, rock and roll became popular, alongside closer-to-home polkas, waltzes, and the Hungarian czardas. At this time, Slovak popular music incorporated cool jazz, bossa nova, and some rock, often with communist, party-sanctioned lyrics. People who wanted another kind of sound looked to Radio Free Europe, or ORF (Austrian Radio).

During Communism’s more relaxed periods in the late 60s and early 70s, many experimental bands and musicians made their mark; Marian Varga and Jaro Filip being two examples.

Following Communism and the Velvet Revolution, the local music scene received a rapid influx of exposure to musical genres, notably pop. Some notable pop and rock acts to emerge after the revolution were: Richard Muller, Bez Ladu a Skadu, Zuzana Smatanova, Jana Kirchner, and more recently Malevil and Ivan Tasler’s IMT Smile.

Slovakia Music Festivals

One of the main festivals to hear contemporary Slovak music is the Pohoda Festival in Trencin.

•culled from

What Languages Are Spoken in Tonga?

Tongan and English are the official languages of Tonga.

The Kingdom of Tonga is a Polynesian nation composed of a group of 169 islands spread over the southern Pacific Ocean. Tonga has four major regions, with 70% of the population occupying the Tongatapu island region. The country is comprised of various ethnic groups, with 96.6% of the population being of Tongan origin, 1.7% of Euronesian origin, 1% European, and 1% East Asian.
Tongan and English are the official languages in the kingdom. Attempts in previous years have been made to introduce a bilingual policy in the island. The policy was mainly intended to promote the use of both English and Tongan, while at the same time preserving the Tongan language from declining.

Official Languages of Tonga


English is one of the official languages of Tonga. While Tongan is the most commonly used language among the population, English is the primary means of instruction for education in the island. Most of the English language speakers are located in towns. The British introduced English, and the first contact of the islanders with the British occurred in the late 18th century. Christian missionaries, in their efforts to preach the gospel, taught the language to the Tongans. Currently, English is taught as a second language in schools and is the primary mode of communication for business purposes. English is also the first language for most European immigrants from Britain.

Tongan Language

Tongan is an official and national language in the Kingdom of Tonga, and includes about 200,000 native speakers. Most speakers live in Tonga, the language has speakers in American Samoa, Vanuatu, Canada, Fiji, Niue, United States, Australia, New Zealand and Wallisian. Tongan is a Polynesian language of the Austronesian family, and is closely related to the Samoan language of the same family. Tongan is a mainly spoken language. The first written form of the language appeared in the 19th century by European missionaries, based on the Latin script. The Privy Council of Tonga developed current spellings used for the language in 1943. Few literary publications have been made in the language, including translations of the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Other publications include daily newspapers, and weekly and monthly magazines such as Taumu’a Lelei, which is produced by the Catholic Church. While the Tongan language is related to most Polynesian languages, such as Tahitian, Maori, and Hawaiian, it displays more proto-Polynesian characteristics in terms of phonology.

Language and Education in Tonga

Tongan and English are the primary languages used on the island. Their use has extended to the classrooms where they are taught at different levels starting in kindergarten. The ministry of education is responsible for introducing language policy in Tongan schools. In 2012, a policy was introduced which made Tongan the only language of instruction at the kindergarten level and classes one to three in primary school. The policy, however, exempts children whose mother tongue is not Tongan. English will be introduced to students beginning in class four. Throughout primary education, Tongan and English languages will be used for teaching. By the time the students reach the high schools level, use of the two languages will be equally balanced.

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from

Wednesday 26 June 2019

The Biggest Islands Of Tonga

Tonga, officially known as the Kingdom of Tonga, is a sovereign state that is made up of 169 islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It covers a total area of slightly more than 750 square miles.

Tonga covers a stretch of land that is approximately 500 miles. It borders Fiji to the northwest and Samoa to the east. To the east, it borders Niue and New Caledonia to the west. The state has a population of 103,000 people residing in 36 of the 169 islands, the majority of the population live on the island of Tongatapu. It is a constitutional monarchy headed by a king who is the head of states and also the commander in chief. The king appoints the prime minister from the members of parliament with the majority members of Parliament. Tonga offers free education for its citizens and scholarships to pursue higher educations in other countries. The country’s economy depends on foreign remittance mostly from
Australia , United States and, New Zealand . Majority of the population is employed in the agricultural sector. Rugby has been largely accepted as the main sport in the country, and Tonga's rugby team has been made famous due to several major victories in international competition.


Tongatapu is Tonga's main island. The island is located in the southern group of islands. Nuku’alofa, Tonga's capital, is also located on Tongatapu. It is the most populous island with more approximately 72,000 inhabitants representing 70.5% of the total population. The island covers approximately 100 square miles and lies 215 feet above the sea level. The island is a commercial hub that has experienced better economic development than other islands in the country. The island is relatively flat with thick, fertile, volcanic soil. At the northernmost end of the island, several small islands, and coral reefs extend 4.2 miles from the shore. The island experiences a cool climate which leads to reduced fruit production in the region. Tongatapu has a high concentration of archaeological artifacts. The Europeans first visited the island in 1643, in 1977, Captain James Cook introduced cattle to the island.The islands key attraction sites include the Langi, the flying fox preserve, and the Nukuleka.

Utu Vava’u

The island of Vava’u is made up of one large island surrounded by 40 smaller islands. The island stretches 13 miles from east to west, and 15.5 miles from the northernmost part of the island to its southernmost point. It covers 37 square miles, and has approximately 15,000 inhabitants, of which 5,000 live in Neiafu, its own capital city. The island is approximately 430 feet above sea level at its highest point, Mount Talau. The island is made up of coral reef that is oblique to the north and spreads up to make several islands to the south. The climate is warmer than the rest of the country, resulting in high production of vanilla and pineapples in the region. It is a picturesque island that is popular with sailors and tourists. From May to October, the island hosts thousand of boats that journey to the port of ’Utu Vava’u to view the migration of whales. Traditional myths claim that the gods fished in the island, and god Maui caught the seabed his hook and fished it up resulting in the emergence of the island.


The island of Eua is one of the smaller major islands of Tonga. The island covers an area of 33.76 square miles and as at 2011, the population was slightly more than 5,000. The island is hilly and with the highest point, the Funga Te’emoa being 1,024 feet above sea level. In contrast to many of the other islands in the country, it was not formed through volcanic processes. Instead, it was formed due to the rubbing together of tectonic plates, which left a 4.4-mile deep trench at the bottom of the sea. It is the only island with a river in the country; the river drains its water to a harbor in the capital city of the island, Ohonua. A unique feature, the coral reef close to the sea level is found between Ohunua and Tufuvai. Six villages are found in the northern part of the island while nine are found in the southern regions. Due to its terrain, the island is a popular destination for tourists seeking outdoor adventures. It offers camping sites and hill climbing expeditions.


The island of Niuafo’ou is the northernmost major island in Tonga. It is a volcanic island covering an area of 5.8 square miles. As at 2006, the island had 650 inhabitants. The island is considered an active volcano that faces the threat of a volcanic eruption. In 1853, 25 people were killed and a village destroyed when lava flow swept through the village of Ahau. Other violent eruptions had occurred as recent as 1946 when the government was forced to evacuate the whole population. The island has a lake in the that lies 14.3 miles above the sea level; it is 2.5 miles wide and 52 miles deep. It has a steep rocky coastline with a few sandy beaches. Communities and residential habitats are located in the northern and eastern parts of the island. According to the traditional myths, a mountain once stood where the lake exists, but it was stolen a huge hole was left behind.

Rising Sea Levels Threaten Tonga

Tonga is facing the threat of rising sea levels. The rate of the rising sea is threatening to submerge some of the country’s islands. In 2000, Cyclone Waka destroyed hundreds of home and left multiples dead. Active volcanoes are also threatening the country, with some of the islands being active volcanoes, eruptions could result in loss of habitat and life. In March 1985 the country experienced some of the worst volcanic eruptions. Westernization has led to the adoption of western culture and resulted in the erosion of native culture. Increases in population are also stretching the available resources, resulting in poor social welfare and a shortage of available amenities.

Rank Biggest Islands in Tonga Area

1 Tongatapu 100.6 square miles
2 ’Utu Vava’u 37 square miles
3 Eua 33.8 square miles
4 Late 10.9 square miles
5 Niuafoʻou 5.8 square miles
6 Foa 5.2 square miles
7 Lifuka 4.4 square miles
8 Pangaimotu of the Vavaʻu Group 3.5 square miles
9 Nomuka 2.7 square miles
10 Tafahi 1.3 square miles

By Kenneth Kimutai too

•culled from

Tongan Culture: The Culture Of Tonga

Tonga has a rich heritage of art and craft.

The Polynesian archipelagic country of Tonga hosts a population of around 106,398 inhabitants. 70% of the population resides in the Tongatapu island. 97% of the population comprises of indigenous Tongans. English and Tongan are the most spoken languages in the country. Nearly the entire population adheres to Christianity. 64.1% of the population follows Protestant Christianity of which 35% are affiliated to the Free Wesleyan Church, 11.9% adhere to the Church of Tonga, and the rest are followers of other Protestant denominations. Significant sections of Tongans are Mormons (18.6%) and Roman Catholics (14.2%).

Tongan Cuisine

In the past, Tongans had a vastly different meal schedule than today. Only one main meal was consumed in the entire day. Tongan men would set out to work in the fields following breakfast. They would also engage in fishing. The produce of the day would be brought home, the traditional underground oven prepared, and a meal cooked at around midday. This meal was served fresh to the family and then the leftovers were used for dinner and next day’s breakfast. The food items included bananas, coconuts, fish, shellfish, yams, and taro. Pigs were killed for meat only on special occasions like weddings and funerals. Chickens were occasionally consumed.

Following contact with the Europeans, many new foods were introduced in the Tongan diet like cassava, watermelons, oranges, lemons, onions, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, pumpkins, etc.
In modern-day Tonga, especially in the urban areas, meal systems are very different and influenced by the Western culture. Purchased prepared foods like canned corn beef and canned fish are popular, even in the villages.
The rate of obesity is high in Tonga with over 90% of the population being overweight. Many members of the population are at high risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. However, little stigma is associated with high weight in Tonga and large bodies are actually revered.

Literature And Graphic Arts In Tonga

Tongan written literature has a relatively recent history, beginning in the late 1960s. Prior to that, literature was mainly in the oral form. It involved folk tales and legends, fairy tales, heroic epics, historical accounts, etc., passed down through the generations by word of mouth. The first published works were short stories and poetry printed in the 1960s and 1970s. The Kisses in the Nederends was one of the earliest novels of Tongan literature. It was published in 1987.
Tonga has a rich art and craft heritage. Traditional women’s crafts include mat-weaving and bark cloth making. The indigenous costumes of taʻovala and kiekie were produced by the women. Traditional men’s crafts included wood carving, tattooing, canoe building, and the construction of homes and other structures from ropes and palm leaves.

Today, Tongans also produce western-style textiles. Freehand murals, the work of Tongan artists, can be seen in the village churches.

Music And Dance In Tonga

Traditional songs were passed down over the generations in Tonga. These songs are today sung at ceremonies like the election of a village chief. Some of the ancient instruments that are still used today include the nose flute and a slit-gong called lali. Ancient dances include the meʻetuʻupaki, ula, and the ʻotuhaka. The influence of the European missionaries in Tonga later fostered the development of a rich tradition of church music that involved the singing of hymns which have Tongan lyrics and tunes.

Clothing In Tonga

Tongan men wear a tupenu that is worn like a sarong and wrapped around the waist. It is usually knee-length or longer in size. They wear any t-shirt or shirt on top. On formal occasions, they also adorn the taʻovala, a woven mat, over the tupenu. The mat is secured to their waist with a kafa rope. A matching suit jacket is worn on top on such occasions.

Tongan women also wear a tupenu that is usually longer and a kofu or dress above. They may wear a shorter tupenu at home for ease of work. On special occasions, they also wear a taovala or a kiekie (a string skirt) over the tupenu.

Sports In Tonga
Rugby is the national sport in Tonga. Other popular sports played in the country include cricket, sumo, judo, football, volleyball, and surfing.

Life In Tongan Society

The men and women in Tonga enjoy an equal role in society. Both parents participate in childcare activities. Men also help women in food preparation. In villages, the preparation of the umu or traditional underground cooking oven is exclusively done by the male members of the family. Both men and women engage in work outside the home. In rural areas, women generally wave mats or make bark cloth while men tend to livestock and grow crops. In urban areas, members of both genders work in offices, banks, and shops.
The decision to marry is usually left to the couple engaged in a romantic relationship. Marriages between people of the same social status are encouraged. Divorce and re-marriage rates are quite significant.

Kinship ties play an important role in the life of a Tongan. Many maintain close bonds with their immediate and extended family members. Families in villages are usually extended while those in urban areas tend to be nuclear in nature. Parents are the main caretakers of the children but in extended families, other family members, especially grandparents, also participate in bringing up a child. A Tongan society puts the female at a higher hierarchical rank than a male. However, inheritance is patrilineal.

Education is considered important in Tongan society. The country boasts of an almost 100% literacy level.

Shaking hands is the common way of greeting acquaintances and strangers. When meeting relatives, Tongans often kiss by pressing their nose against the face of the relative and soundly inhale through the nose. Men who take part in the preparation of the traditional oven for roasting do not eat until the first round of guests have completed the meal. Food is usually consumed by hand.

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from

Serbia Music Through The Ages

Serbian folk music, originating from ritual songs, is often recognized as part of Turkish music, while pop music follows all the world’s trends.
There is no celebration without music and singing in Serbia. Some old songs have survived till this day, so even today during the time of drought you can see “ dodolas” – young girls decorated with leaves and flowers singing ritual songs praying for rain. The first records of singers and musicians on trumpets and stringed instruments among South Slavs originate from the medieval chronicles by Byzantine authors.

The traces of this tradition are preserved in traditional songs and dances of “dodolas”. Like fairies covered with flowers and leaves, with wreaths of vine, grass and twigs on their heads, “dodolas” go from village to village singing and dancing, praying gods for rain. In times of drought young girls would become one with nature nourishing the tradition of Slavic people with their songs.

Historically speaking, traditional or folk music in the Balkans was influenced particularly by Turkish music, but also the music from Western Europe. Some kings were crowned with the sound of drums and bagpipes, while others were welcomed with the sounds of trumpets. Illuminations and wall paintings in the Miroslav Gospel , on the frescoes in Serbian monasteries are the only remaining source of information about the instruments used at that time.

The national folklore dance in Serbia is “ kolo “. It differs from one region to another, and the most famous are “ Užičko kolo ” and “ Moravac “. Kolo is danced at weddings and celebrations, and we’re inviting you to try it. On one occasion, even the President of the United States Jimmy Carter danced “kolo” at the Belgrade fortress .
With the appearance of civil society, “ sevdalinke” (traditional genre of music) and “ schlager” music gained their popularity and “ kafanas ” (traditional taverns) became the new meeting places. Artists who will later become the stars of Serbian traditional music performed in taverns every night.

After Radio Belgrade was opened in 1929, the sounds were transferred from taverns to the radio , and the biggest masters of their trade stepped in front of the microphones, and Serbia got its first real “stars”. Sofka Nikolić, “the queen of Skadarlija” (Belgrade’s bohemian street), marked the golden age of Serbian folk music and became the most popular singer in history. She sold over 10,000 records, and she performed in all big European cultural centers – Berlin, Budapest, Vienna, Paris…

Later, Silvana Armenulić, Lepa Lukić and Predrag Cune Gojković sang some of the biggest hits of folk music. Traditional music still lives in Serbia and guests from abroad can enjoy the concerts of Bilja Krstić, Teofilović brothers or Goran Bregović.

Pop and rock music appeared in the fifties of the 20th century, while it gained popularity in the eighties. Djordje Marjanović, the biggest music star of the region of all times, was the first one to fall into the state of “ecstasy” along with his fans in concerts. He used to cry with them, throw his jacket into the audience and fall down on his knees in ecstasy. He had hundreds of thousands of fans.

Serbian music came to the turning point with the formation of the band “ Bijelo Dugme ” in 1974. Surely one of the greatest bands in the history of music in the region, they have initiated an entirely new wave called “ pastirski rok” (eng: pastoral rock) – a mixture of folk and rock music.
Goran Bregović, who later became an internationally big music star, was one of the initiators of the band. Although “Bijelo Dugme” doesn’t exist anymore, their songs are still popular even among the younger generations.

•culled from

Tuesday 25 June 2019

What Languages Are Spoken In Solomon Islands?

English serves as the official language of the Solomon Islands.

The Solomon Islands is a country located in the southwestern region of the Pacific Ocean. The country is made up of two sequences of volcanic islands and coral atolls. The country was colonized by the British and later gained its autonomy in the year 1978. Its capital city is Honiara, a town that holds the title as the largest city. It is located on the coast of Guadalcanal.

Languages of The Solomon Islands

There are 76 individual languages recorded in the Solomon Islands, of which 73 of these languages are still in use, and 3 are extinct. Sixteen of these languages are either in trouble or slowly diminishing.

About 70 languages are spoken in the greater Solomon Islands archipelago. This is a much bigger region as compared to the Solomon Island itself. The official language is English while the common language (lingua franca) is Pidgin. English is used in the local media, in government transactions, and in some businesses. Despite English being the official language, it is only spoken by about 2% of the population. Its lack of popularity also means it has not been embraced as the language of instruction in schools.

The Most Popular Languages

The bigger population of the people are ethnically Melanesian, making the speakers of the language account for about 85% of the population. Polynesian speakers form a small minority of the population at about 4%. They are mainly found in the southern part of Rennell and Bellona, and the Stewart Islands (Sikaiana), Tikopia, and Anuta.
The Micronesian language of Papua is common among immigrants of Gilbertese and Turaluans. The speakers of the Papuan language attribute for 9% of the population.

The Islanders have developed a Pidgin that is specific to the Solomon Island, a language that was derived from English. This English Creole is the lingua franca meaning that most of the population uses the language as a way of communication.

Minority Languages

There are other languages spoken in the country, a few with a notable number of speakers will be highlighted.

Cheke Holo is a language spoken by around 10,840 speakers. The speakers are mainly found in Santa Isabel Island, Kia District, and Hograno coastal villages. The language belongs to the Western Oceanic language group.

Are’are is spoken by 17,800 people who are found in the Malaita Region. The language belongs to the Southeast Solomonic family group.

The Gela language is spoken by about 11,876 people in the region of Florida Island. The language is spoken in three dialects which are very similar that only differ on very few phonological facts.
Ghari is a language of the oceanic family that is widely spoken on the Guadalcanal Island. It is spoken by about 12,119 people. Its Vaturanga dialect was used extensively in missionary translations.

The other spoken languages include Kwaio which is spoken by 13,249 people in Central Malaita; Lau, spoken by 16,937 people in Malaita; Lengo, spoken by 13,800 people in Guadalcanal Island; and Toabaita, spoken by 12,600 people in north Malaita Island.

Endangered Languages
There are several languages that are heading for extinction. These include: The Rennellese Sign Language, Oroha, Tanema, Tanibili, Riirio, Vano and Lovono.

By Maureen Shisia

•culled from

Religious Beliefs In The Solomon Islands

Christianity is the religion of the majority in the Solomon Islands.

The Solomon Islands is an island nation comprising of 6 major and more than 900 smaller islands in the Pacific Ocean in Oceania. The country hosts a population of around 647,581 individuals. According to the CIA World Factbook, Christianity is the dominant religion in the Solomon Islands. Protestantism is the biggest domination of Christianity in the islands. 73.4% of the population are Protestant Christians. Among the various Protestant denominations active in the country, the Church of Melanesia, South Sea Evangelical, and Seventh Day Adventist have the highest followings accounting for 31.9%, 17.1%, and 11.7% of the population of the islands, respectively. The United Church and the Christian Fellowship Church also have significant followings representing 10.1% and 2.5% of the population, respectively.

19.6% of the residents of the Solomon Islands are Roman Catholics. Followers of other Christian denominations and those of other religions account for 2.9%, and 4% of the population, respectively. Only a very small percentage of the population comprises of non-believers (0.03%) and those that do not specify adherence to any religion (0.1%).

History Of Religion In The Solomon Islands

Prior to the European colonization, the Solomon Islands was home to the Papuan-speaking people, Austronesian, and Polynesian peoples. These people had their own traditional animistic beliefs. Animism is regarded by some as the world’s oldest non-organized religion. Believers of animism attribute a spiritual essence to objects of nature. Today, only a small percentage of the islanders practice the indigenous animistic religion. Most of them belong to the Kwaio community living on the Malaita island.

The first contact of the Islanders with the Europeans happened in 1568 when a Spanish navigator landed on one of the islands. However, despite the first visit in the late 16th century, missionaries arrived in the Solomon Islands only in the mid-19th century. Initially, however, they were quite unsuccessful in their attempts to convert the natives to Christianity. At that time, the natives abhorred the Europeans because of blackbirding, a term applied to the brutal treatment and exploitation of the natives by the Europeans.

Later, however, when the Solomon Islands became a British protectorate, the missionaries found it possible to conduct the religious conversions of the indigenous inhabitants. Under the influence of the British administration and in the absence of an indigenous organized religion, most of the islanders were thus converted to Christianity.

Religious Beliefs In The Solomon Islands

Rank Religion Population (%)
1 Church of Melanesia 31.9
2 Roman Catholic 19.6
3 South Sea Evangelical 17.1
4 Seventh Day Adventist 11.7
5 United Church 10.1
6 Other Religion 4
7 Other Christian 2.9
8 Christian Fellowship Church 2.5
9 Unspecified 0.1
10 Irreligious 0.03

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from

The Culture Of The Solomon Islands

Respect for the elders is an inherent part of the culture in the Solomon Islands.

The sovereign island country of the Solomon Islands hosts a population of around 660,121 individuals. The archipelagic country has six major islands and more than 900 smaller islands. Honiara, the capital city and seat of the government , is located on Guadalcanal Island's northwestern coast. People of Melanesian descent comprise 95.3% of the country’s populations. The rest of the population comprises of Micronesians and people of other ethnic groups. More than 120 indigenous languages are spoken in the Solomon Islands. Melanesian Pidgin serves as the lingua franca in the country. Although English is the official language , it is spoken by only a small percentage of the population. Nearly the entire population of the Solomon Islands comprises of Christians with 73.4% of the population practicing Protestantism and 19.6% practicing Roman Catholicism.

5. Cuisine of the Solomon Islands

The cuisine of the country reflects influences from a variety of Oceanian, Asian, and European cuisines. The Spanish and the English who ruled in the country left their own culinary marks. The spice trade from
Asia also added to the richness of the country’s cuisine. Coconuts are an integral part of the cuisine. Flesh, water, and milk of the coconut are used in preparing numerous dishes. Cassava, taro, and sweet potatoes are important sources of carbohydrates. A variety of fruits and vegetables are also consumed. Fish is the primary source of protein in the diet. Frying, boiling, and baking are some of the most commonly used cooking techniques. Breadfruit is served with many dishes. Poi is a dish made of fermented taro roots and is served with fish or chicken during celebratory feasts.

4. Literature and Graphic Arts in the Solomon Islands

Written literature developed on the islands as recently as the 1960s in the context of the development of the Pacific Islander literature in the Pacific region as a whole. John Saunana and Celo Kulagoe are notable writers from the country.
A growth of tourism in the Solomon Islands has encouraged a thriving craft industry. Stone carvings, weaved baskets and bags, tribal jewelry, indigenous pottery, etc., are some of the traditional handicraft items that cater to the thriving souvenir markets in the country.

3. Performance Arts in the Solomon Islands

Music, songs, and dances are an integral part of the country’s culture. Folk songs and dances are performed during traditional ceremonies. Many of the islanders are natural song composers. Both group and solo vocals are common forms of traditional Melanesian performances. Slit-drums and panpipe ensembles produce the music. Panpipe orchestras are highly popular. The youth of the country today also listen to various kinds of reggae, pop, and rock music.

2. Sports in the Solomon Islands

Sport is an important part of the culture of the Islanders. A large number of games like cricket, football, rugby, horse racing, etc., are popular in the country. The nation has highly successful national association football, beach soccer, and futsal teams, regarded as among the best in Oceania.

1. Life in the Society in the Solomon Islands

Traditionally, the roles of men and women in society were well-defined. Women were expected to execute the household duties and tend to the children. They also did some agricultural work like planting and weeding the fields. Men were involved in the more labor-intensive tasks like hunting, fishing, construction, clearing areas for agriculture, etc. Over time, however, with the spread of education, interactions with the outside world, and the creation of jobs, the traditional roles got blurred. Today, both men and women engage in jobs outside the homes and women serve as doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc., just like the men. Traditional mindsets, however, linger on in some rural areas.

In the past, marriages were arranged to ensure communal or social compatibility between the married partners and their families. Intra-clan marriages were a taboo. A bride price was usually paid by the groom’s family to the bride’s family as a kind of compensation for the loss of a family member. Today, the situation has greatly changed and romantic relationships are often the reason for marriage. Blessings of the family are then sought by the couple. Cases of cohabitation without marriage is also on the rise but is still frowned upon by society.

Family ties are very important in the life of people living in the Solomon Islands. Extended families are more common than nuclear ones. Children are brought up by the parents with help from members of the extended family. Infants are highly pampered and usually not left with members outside the family. Men often take critical decisions related to family matters and finances but women also advise in the background.

Both patrilineal and matrilineal systems of inheritance can be seen in the Solomon Islands. The rules vary by ethnic groups and clans. These differences are usually taken into account while making laws and giving judgments.

Respect for the elders is an inherent part of the etiquette in the Solomon Islands. When men speak to women who are non-related, they are expected to look away as a show of respected. Girls are taught to be wary of strangers. The Islanders are known to be good hosts. They welcome guests to their home and provide them with the best food.

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from

Saturday 22 June 2019

What Languages Are Spoken In Samoa?

Samoan and English are the official languages of Samoa.

History Of The Samoan People

Samoans are a Polynesian group of people who speak the native language Samoan. The Samoan original traditions suggest that the Polynesian race originated from the Samoan Islands. As per this belief, the other Polynesian Islands present in the Pacific Ocean were filled up with a mass migration of the people from Samoa during the colonization of Samoa.

Modern studies have challenged this migration theory purporting that there were two upsurges of migration that populated the said islands. This study holds that the first wave of relocation was from Southeastern Asia while the second wave came from the indigenous Samoan people who were disrupted by the colonial powers.

Samoan Language

Samoan is the language spoken in the Samoan Islands which is made up of the Independent State of Samoa and the American Samoa. Samoan is the official language of these islands together with English.

Samoan is the oldest and most spoken language of the Polynesian family with a total of 510,000 speakers worldwide. Samoan is the third most recognized language in New Zealand with 2% of the population, about 86,000 people, able to speak the language.

Samoan is distinctive in its difference in phonology between formal and informal dialogues and also in a traditional form of speech that is used in Samoan oratory.

Classification Of The Samoan Language

The Samoan language falls under the Austronesian language family, which can be narrowed down to the Samoic division of the Polynesian subphylum. It has notable similarities with other Polynesian languages with which it shares related words and numbers. The terms of reference to the mythical gods are also similar.

The classification of the Samoan language in relation to other Polynesian languages is a matter of debate among linguists. The first classification which is considered traditional classifies the language based on common improvements in grammar and terminology. This classification groups Samoan with Tokelauan and the languages of Eastern Polynesia, such as Mahori, Tahitian, Hawaiian, and Rapanui. This line of thought suggests that Nuclear Polynesian and Tongic are the major divisions of the Polynesian group. The second classification derives its divisions on vocabulary only. This vocabulary is found in the Austronesian Vocabulary Database. It contradicts the initial classification suggesting that Samoan and Tongic form a subgroup.


The Samoan language has a 14 letter alphabet. The letters H, K and R are used in loan words.

Geographic Distribution

The approximate number of Samoan speakers in the world is 470,000, of which 50% reside in the Samoan Islands. The next biggest number of speakers is found in New Zealand. The census conducted in New Zealand in 2006 recorded 95,428 speakers of the Samoan language. The Australian Census of 2006 indicates that there are 38,525 speakers of Samoan in the country and 39,992 people who can trace their ancestry to Samoa. The 2010 US census recorded more than 180,000 Samoans within US borders. This number is three times the population of American Samoa. This number is slightly smaller than the estimated population of the Island nation of Samoa which was 193,000 as of 2011.

By Maureen Shisia

•culled from

Religious Beliefs In Samoa

Christianity is the religion of the majority in Samoa.

Samoa is a Polynesian island country in the Pacific Ocean consisting of two large and four small islands. It hosts a population of around 200,108 inhabitants. The most popular religion in Samoa is Christianity.

Religious Composition Of Samoa

According to the CIA World Factbook, Christianity is the religion of the majority in Samoa. Protestantism is the most popular denomination of Christianity practiced in the country. 52.6% of the population are Protestant Christians. Among them, Congregationalists and Methodists represent 29% and 12.4% of the population, respectively. Other popular Protestant sects include the Assembly of God and the Seventh Day Adventist with followings that account for 6.8% and 4.4% of the country’s population, respectively.

Samoa also has a significant number of Roman Catholics and Mormons who represent 18.8% and 16.9% of the population, respectively. The Worship Centre has the affiliation of 2.8% of the population. Followers of other Christian sects and other religions account for 6.3% and 2.4% of the population of Samoa, respectively. Only 0.2% of the people of Samoa do not believe in religion.

History Of Religion In Samoa

Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, the indigenous people of Samoa practiced a complex polytheistic religion. Such religions focussed on the worship of both animate and inanimate objects of nature that were associated with a spiritual essence. The religion also involved ancestor worship.

The contact of Samoans with Europeans began relatively late in the first half of the 18th century. The first European to sight the islands of Samoa was a Dutch named Jacob Roggeveen. Christian missionaries and traders did not arrive in Samoa until the 1830’s. The British missionary John Williams who was active in the South Pacific region was the first to start missionary work in Samoa. Later, missionaries representing the various denominations of Christianity worked actively in Samoa to convert the locals to their beliefs. In the absence of any organized religion and under pressure from the colonial powers, the people of the country were Christianized. Today, the Samoans have deep-rooted Christian beliefs and most of them attend church regularly.

Religious Freedom And Tolerance In Samoa

The Constitution of Samoa provides for the freedom of religion. People of the country can practice any religion of their choice. The law and government policies ensure that this right of the people is protected. Christian instruction is, however, compulsory in the public primary schools throughout the country. Since most of the population adheres to Christianity, there is little opposition to this rule. Christian holidays like Christmas, Good Friday, Easter Monday, etc., are observed as national holidays in the country.

Religious Beliefs In Samoa

Rank Religion Population (%)
1 Congregationalist 29
2 Roman Catholic 18.8
3 Mormon 16.9
4 Methodist 12.4
5 Assembly of God 6.8
6 Other Christian 6.3
7 Seventh Day Adventist 4.4
8 The Worship Centre 2.8
9 Other Religion 2.4
10 Irreligious 0.2

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from

The Culture Of Samoa

Separated from the rest of the world by the deep waters of the Pacific, Samoa has developed a distinct culture of its own.

Samoa is a Pacific island nation consisting of two main islands and four smaller ones. Separated from the rest of the world by the deep waters of the Pacific, Samoa has developed a distinct culture of its own.

Samoa hosts a population of around 201,316 individuals. Native Samoans account for 96% of the population of the country. Samoan and English are the official languages. Protestant Christians, Roman Catholics, and Mormons account for 52.6%, 18.8%, and 16.9% of Samoa’s population, respectively.

The use of the umu is a hallmark of the traditional Samoan cooking. The umu is an earth oven where food is cooked by trapping it in a pit in the ground. Food is baked, smoked, or steamed in the umu. On Sundays, large meals are cooked in the umu and served to all family members. It is customary for the older family members to eat first, followed by the younger ones and the children. Fish and other seafood are widely eaten in Samoa. Rice, taro, and coconut are other staples of the diet. Pork is the most popular meat eaten in the country. The luau is a popular dish which consists of coconut cream wrapped in taro leaves. The dish is baked in the umu and then eaten in its entirety.


The puletasi is a traditional dress for Samoan women. It consists of a matching tunic and full-length skirt with Samoan designs. The dress is usually worn to cultural and formal events. The lava-lava is another traditional garment that is basically a single rectangular cloth worn as a skirt. The lava lava is worn by both men and women. A shirt or t-shirt is worn on top. The designs may be plain or intricate. Some Samoan men have traditional tattoos on their lower body and upper legs. The tattooing is carried out in the absence of anesthesia and is extremely painful. A headdress made of feathers and shells called tuiga is worn during ceremonies.
Literature, Art, And Craft
Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, only oral literature existed in Samoa. It included fa'agogo (folk tales and legends), fa'alupega (genealogies), tala (mythologies and histories), pese (songs), etc., that was passed through generations of Samoans via word of mouth. In the mid-19th century, Christian missionaries from England helped develop a Latin script based Samoan language. Written literature started being produced in the country since then. Initially, the oral literature of the country, especially the poetry and folk tales were produced in the written form. In the later years, novel literary works were produced by Samoan writers and poets in both English and Samoan language.

Both Samoan men and women can be tattooed. Finely woven mats are crafted by Samoan women for use in ceremonies and gift exchanges. Bark cloth paintings of Samoa are quite famous. Mulberry bark is beaten to produce bark cloth. Paintings or patterns are then painted on the cloth using a natural plant-based brown color. The paintings called siapo may be used for clothing or for decorative reasons. Seashells, coir, and coconuts are used to make jewelry, ornaments, and other accessories. Wooden sculptures are also produced by Samoan craftsmen.

Performance Arts

Samoan music is played using a number of traditional musical instruments. Music from the fala (a rolled-up mat beaten with sticks) often accompanies choral singing. A conch shell is blown for signaling. A variety of wooden slit drums are also used to produce music. Such drums are also used to call village meetings, to announce war, for long-distance signaling, etc. Other musical instruments like a jaw harp, a nose-blown flute, a raft panpipe, and a soundingboard are used for entertainment purpose and often accompanies songs and poetry recitals.

Siva is the traditional dance of Samoa. The sasa is a group dance performed to the rhythm of a drum beat. The maulu'ulu is another group dance that is performed by only women. The slap dance called fa'ataupati is performed by Samoan male. No musical instrument is used for this dance. The taualuga is another dance performed by the village chief. It often serves as the inauguratory dance during a Samoan cultural festival.


Samoan cricket called kilikiti and rugby union are the two most popular sports played in Samoa. Soccer and wrestling are also popular in the country. A number of Samoans today play in the NFL. The national soccer team of Samoa is ranked 149th in the world. The national rugby team of Samoa has participated in every Rugby World Cup since 1991. Other sports played in the country include netball, baseball, volleyball, boxing, mixed martial arts, etc.

Life In Samoan Society

Samoans prefer to do their activities together. Faith, family, and music form the backbone of the Samoan culture. The traditional homes are called fale. The fale are large houses without any walls. They can host more than 20 people at the same time. Family plays an integral role in the life of an individual. The extended family or aiga lives and works together. The eldest members of the household have a higher authority. They are also greatly respected by the other family members.

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from

Scottish Traditional Music

If you’ve ever visited the Scottish Highlands, you would have enjoyed listening to Scottish music. The Highlands is one place to discover the best folk music of Scotland. Traditional Scottish music sees instruments such as bagpipes, border pipes and small pipes, piano accordion, cello and the grand piano. However, each region seems to bring some difference to Scottish music in general. The Orkney and Shetland Isles sing English songs and play the fiddle quite frequently. There is a strong influence of Norwegian music while the Hebrides and Highlands sing mostly in Gaelic with bagpipes playing in the background.

The Border Regions and Lowlands tend to enjoy an English style. However, the music in Cape Breton and Nova Scotia sing in Gaelic accompanied by the fiddle and bagpipes with a dance-like quality as the background music. Scottish folk music is unique to Scotland with folk singers incorporating Celtic music into their own. The diverse traditional music of Scotland has a rich history; it has a distinctive sound and offers a twist that of a blending bagpipe that seems akin to rock music.

Visitors can attend traditional Scotland music festivals like the Royal National MOD and Blas Festival. These music festivals bring together emerging and established artists from across the country. Celtic Connections held in Glasgow every January celebrates the beauty and diversity of Scottish music showcasing contemporary folk bands, and local and international musicians. Some of the modern folk bands popular in Glasgow include the likes Salsa Celtica, Peatbog Faeries, Shooglenifty and Capercaillie.

History of Scottish Instruments

The Bagpipes

Bagpipes in Scotland have been famous for centuries. Bagpipes originally formed in the British Army during the 18th century. The use of the rousing sound of the bagpipes was first as an inspiration to the Army. The sound of pipes accompanying modern day musicians is very much influenced by the history of bagpipes. However, there are players that connect to the non-military aspect of bagpipes.

The Fiddle

The fiddle has Scottish ancestors like the viols. The 17th century saw the modern violin arrive from mainland Europe. Traditional music calls it the fiddle; however, it is the same musical instrument that is played by classical violinists. Today the fiddle continues to be one of the most traditional Scottish musical instruments with the fiddle festival, fiddle bands, Reel societies and Strathspey.

The Clarsach

The Clarsach is the oldest musical instrument in Scotland. The instrument played a significant role in society being but gave way to more familiar instruments like the fiddle and bagpipes when the social structure changed in the country. By the 18th century, with the introduction of bagpipes the need to use the Clarsach had died out completely.

•culled from

Religious Beliefs In Papua New Guinea

A vast majority of Papua New Guinea's residents are Christians.

Papua New Guinea (known formally as the Independent State of Papua New Guinea) is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean just north of the island continent of Australia. The Oceanic nation comprises the eastern half of the much larger island of New Guinea while the western portion is home to Papua and West Papua which are provinces under the jurisdiction of the nation of Indonesia.

With a land area of 178,700 square miles, Papua New Guinea is home to 8,084,999 inhabitants most of whom still live in rural areas working in the agricultural industry as farmers as opposed to moving to urban centers. With its national motto espousing a belief that there can be “unity in diversity,” the population of the island country speaks approximately 850 languages and belongs to hundreds of cultural and ethnic groups. Besides indigenous groups, Papua New Guinea has also become home to a variety of citizens from a variety of other nations including China, Indonesia, and Australia.

Largest Religions in Papua New Guinea

It seems obvious that due to the cultural mix among the residents living in Papua New Guinea the country would be home to a variety of domestic as well as imported religious beliefs and practices.


According to a census taken in 2011, the majority of citizens, almost 96%, cite their religion to be Christianity. Although the majority of local Christians belong to Protestant denominations, some 26% of worshippers are members of the Roman Catholic Church. Among the most popular Protestant Christian denominations in Papua New Guinea include the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea, Seventh-day Adventists, Pentecostals, the United Church in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, the Evangelical Alliance, Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea, as well as smaller populations who identify as Baptists, members of the Salvation Army, and various other Christian churches. Interestingly, the census also revealed that many citizens of Papua New Guinea have chosen to mix elements of local indigenous religious practices and traditions with their modern Christian belief system.


Besides Christianity, a minority of residents living in Papua New Guinea are of the Muslim faith. The largest portion of the approximately 2,000 total Muslims living in the Oceanic country are Sunnis while a much smaller number are Ahmadi. In terms of missionary activity, according to The Papua New Guinea Council of Churches both Muslim and Confucian missionaries still operate on the island. A small number of locals also espouse to the Bahá'í Faith, a religious belief system which originated in Iran and other parts of the Middle East before spreading across the world.

Indigenous Religions

Indigenous religions still practiced in Papua New Guinea are most often associated with Animism, or a belief system based on all things, including animals, inanimate objects, plants, and rocks being alive. Animism is known as the world’s oldest religion. Ancestor worship is also practiced by a number of local residents.
One aspect of traditional religion which is still thought to be believed by a significant number of local tribal members in Papua New Guinea is the belief in evil spirits, also known as masalai, who have been held responsible for all sorts of malicious activity including accidents, injuries, misfortunes, and even deaths.

By C.L. Illsley

•culled from

Wednesday 19 June 2019

Biggest Cities In Papua New Guinea

Located on the shores of the Gulf of Papua, Port Moresby is the capital and most populous city of Papua New Guinea.

Where Is Papua New Guinea?

Papua New Guinea is an Oceania country comprised of islands. The eastern part of New Guinea Island lies between the Coral Sea and the South Pacific Ocean to the east of Indonesia. The West part of the New Guinea is part of the provinces of Indonesia of Papua and West Papua. Papua New Guinea is among one of the world’s most culturally diverse countries as it has 852 different languages in the country out of which twelve have no known living speakers. About 18% of the country’s population lives in urban areas making the country one of the most rural in the world. The country is also one of the least explored culturally and geographically in the world and is thought to have much-undiscovered flora and fauna in the world, as well as groups of uncontacted people.

The Four Biggest Cities Of Papua New Guinea

Port Moresby

John Moresby, an English Captain, visited the Island of Papua New Guinea in 1837 and claimed it for Britain and named it after his father. In 1905 the newly federated government of Australia passed the Papua Act that transferred Papua with Port Moresby as the capital which served to direct the Australian rule in the Island. The city grew gradually, and electricity was first introduced in 1925 and piped water in 1941. In 1975, when Papua New Guinea became independent Port Moresby became the capital city. The population of the city has grown from 120,000 people in the 1980’s to 195,000 people in the 1990s.


Lae is the second largest city in Papua New Guinea, and it is the capital of the province of Morobe. The city is in between the delta of Markhan River and the highlands highway, which is the primary land transport corridor between the coastal part and the highlands region. The city is the biggest cargo port and serves as the industrial hub of the country. The city is also known as the Garden City and is an education center as well where the Papua New Guinea University of Technology is located. The University is the second largest after its sister University of Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby. It is the only Technology University in South Pacific out of Australia and New Zealand. The estimated population of the city is more than 100,677 people.


Arawa is the third largest city in Papua New Guinea, and it is the largest and capital of town of the Bougainville the autonomous region. The city of Arawa was extensively destroyed during the civil war of Bougainville that resulted in the relocation of the capital to Buka and plans are underway to rebuild Arawa and make it the capital again. The whole region where the Arawa town sits was once a large expatriate plantation in the country. The estimated population of Arawa is almost 36,443 inhabitants.

Mt Hagen

Mount Hagen is the third largest city in the country and also the largest and capital of the province of Western Highlands. Its location is in the central mainland of Papua New Guinea in the vast fertile Wahgi Valley with an average elevation of 5,502 feet (1,777m) above sea level. Mt Hagen is connected to other coastal cities like Lae and Madang through the Highlands Highway which is the main route. The town was named after the old volcanic Mount Hagen that lies about 24 kilometers to the northeast. The Volcanic Mountain was in turn named after a German colonial officer Curt Von Hagen. Mt Hagen has a population of about 27,782 people.

Which Are The Biggest Cities In Papua New Guinea?

Rank Settlement Name Province Population
1 Port Moresby National Capital District 254,158
2 Lae Morobe 100,677
3 Arawa Bougainville 36,443
4 Mount Hagen Western Highlands 27,782
5 Madang Madang 27,420
6 Wewak East Sepik 25,143
7 Goroka Eastern Highlands 25,000 ~
8 Kokopo East New Britain 20,262
9 Popondetta Oro 19,556
10 Aitape Sandaun 18,000

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from

Most Ethnically Diverse Countries In The World

All of the world's most culturally heterogeneous countries are found in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Ethnicity is the identity of similar groups of people connected to their ancestral, social, national, cultural, and common language. Important factors form the basis of a person’s ethnicity such as joint ancestry, origin myth, homeland, history, cultural heritage, and language. Cultural heterogeneity is about the existence of diverse cultures in a certain population living in a territory or country.

The demographics and socioeconomic distribution of distinct cultural groups in a country or territory is called ethnic fractionalization. The data below is based on a study conducted by Fearon, where 1 is the most culturally diverse and 0 is the least. This measure of cultural diversity is heavily based on languages spoken, as language can be a convenient indicator of ethnicity and diversity. Papua New Guinea is the most diverse country in the world, followed by Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda.

The 5 Most Diverse Countries in the World

1. Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is the world's most linguistically diverse country , a fact that contributes to its status as the most ethnically diverse country in the world. There are thousands of ethnic groups in the country, each with their own languages and customs. Incredibly, there are languages in Papua New Guinea that have no relation to one another despite their geographic proximity.

2. Tanzania

More than one hundred ethnic groups live in
Tanzania. Many of these groups speak their own languages. In addition to this, there are also a number of foreign residents who live in Tanzania, many of whom are from Asia and Europe. The population of Tanzania is 55,572,201.

3. Democratic Republic of the Congo

DR Congo has a population of 81,680,000 of which there are over 200 ethnic groups who speak about 242 languages with French as the official language. Christianity has about 80% adherents while 10% are Muslims, and the other 10% follow native faiths.

4. Uganda

Uganda's population of 37,873,253 people is composed of Ugandans and more than ten ethnic groups. Christians make up 85% of the population, and 12.1% are Islam adherents.

5. Liberia

Liberia is the world's fifth most diverse country. The population is 4,503,000 people strong of which 95% are Liberians, and the rest are of 16 ethnic groups who speak 31 dialects in addition to English as the official language.
Other Ethnically Diverse Countries
The rest of the world's most diverse countries are all in Africa, and include Togo, South Africa, Republic of the Congo, and Madagascar.

Most Ethnically Diverse Countries In The World

Rank Country Ethnic Diversity Score
1 Papua New Guinea 1.0000
2 Tanzania 0.9530
3 Democratic Republic of Congo 0.9330
4 Uganda 0.9300
5 Liberia 0.8990
6 Cameroon 0.8870
7 Togo 0.8830
8 South Africa 0.8800
9 Congo 0.8780
10 Madagascar 0.8610
11 Gabon 0.8570
12 Kenya 0.8520
13 Ghana 0.8460
14 Malawi 0.8290
15 Guinea-Bissau 0.8180
16 Somalia 0.8120
17 India 0.8110
18 Nigeria 0.8050
19 Yugoslavia (1943–1992) 0.8010
20 Central African Republic 0.7910
21 Ivory Coast 0.7840
22 Lebanon 0.7800
23 Chad 0.7720
24 Indonesia 0.7660
25 Mozambique 0.7650
26 Gambia 0.7640
27 Sierra Leone 0.7640
28 Ethiopia 0.7600
29 Angola 0.7560
30 Mali 0.7540
31 Afghanistan 0.7510
32 Bolivia 0.7430
33 United Arab Emirates 0.7370
34 Senegal 0.7270
35 Zambia 0.7260
36 Namibia 0.7240
37 Soviet Union (1922–1991) 0.7110
38 Sudan (1955–2011) 0.7080
39 Kuwait 0.7080
40 Burkina Faso 0.7040
41 Bosnia and Herzegovina 0.6810
42 Kyrgyzstan 0.6790
43 Nepal 0.6770
44 Iran 0.6690
45 Guinea 0.6690
46 Kazakhstan 0.6640
47 Colombia 0.6560
48 Ecuador 0.6550
49 Eritrea 0.6470
50 Trinidad and Tobago 0.6470

By Ronaldo Y. Wee

•culled from

Tuesday 18 June 2019

The Huli People Of Papua New Guinea And Their Dramatic Headgears

The Huli is an indigenous group of people living in Papua New Guinea who are famous for their custom of wearing decorative wigs and headgear.
The Huli is an indigenous group of people living in Papua New Guinea who are famous for their custom of wearing decorations on their heads as well as painting their faces. The Huli people make up the largest indigenous group in Papua New Guinea with a population estimated at 90,000. The tribe inhabits the central mountains of the country and their social structure centers around clans and subclans.

Origin Of The Huli People

It is estimated that the tribe has lived in the region it inhabits for 1,000 years. The people trace their ancestry to a male ancestor named Huli, who according to legend was the first man to engage in agricultural activities in Huli territory. The Huli people were involved in extensive traveling, primarily for trade. The tribe’s existence was not known until 1934 when about fifty of them were killed by two European adventurers. Plane travel allowed Europeans to bypass the rugged terrains in the mountains and they were thereby exposed to Huli culture and life.

Wardrobe Of A Huli Man And Woman

A Huli man in casual wear appears scantily dressed in comparison to other societies. He wears a string apron tied at his waist which flows to his knees. A bunch of cordyline leaves cover his buttocks and appear shiny in their green and blue hue.The men compliment their outfit with a selection of beads, earrings, shell breastplate, a black palm belt, and a bone knife. A Huli woman wears a long skirt made of grass and a smock to cover her breasts. Women wear fewer ornaments than men usually flowers in their hair, neck beads, and a kina shell breast. Both genders sport a spring bag which is used to carry items such as sweet potatoes for women and tobacco, money, and a bamboo smoking pipe for men. The Huli are body decorators, and they are often seen adorned in the facial paint. Traditionally, yellow clay was used, but manufactured paint is being used in the modern day.

The Dramatic Headgears Of Hulis

The Huli attire is completed by a dramatic wig usually worn by men. The headgears are made from their individual hair, and the process takes several months. The process is carried out by wigmen, most of whom inhabit Hela Province. A boy who is growing hair undergoes a rigorous journey, complete with a restricted diet, taboos, and special magic. His hair is regularly splashed with ritual water till it has achieved the desired length for it to be shaped by a circular band of bamboo. After a period of time, an oblong takes the place of the bamboo band. The boy sleeps in a semi-sitting position with his head on a headrest to prevent the squashing of the hair. The entire hair is clipped off close to the scalp after about 18 months and forms the basis of the wig. The wig is adorned with feathers, wings, breastplates and even heads of exotic birds and it is encased in red ochre.

Threats To The Huli People
The tribe’s habitat is increasingly threatened by deforestation and natural gas extraction. Infrastructure development such as roads and processing facilities has had an adverse impact on the rainforests which the Huli People call home. Even the birds whose feathers the tribe uses for wig making are reducing due to habitat loss. The Huli people, being mostly illiterate, are easily lured into selling land cheaply to developmental organizations. Modernization is slowly being adopted by the tribe since they are no longer isolated but rather, are exposed to modern influences especially due to the encroachment of energy and road companies

By Joyce Chepkemoi

•culled from

What Is The Culture Of Papua New Guinea?

Papua New Guinea has a rich and unique culture.
Officially known as the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, it is a country situated in Oceania. The island country has an area of about 178,700 square miles while the recent estimates place the population of the country at 8,084,999 people. The capital city, which is also the largest city, is Port Moresby. In the globe, the country has one of the most diverse cultures. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most underdeveloped countries as evidenced by a huge chunk of people living in rural centers and illiteracy. Only 18% of the population resides in urban regions. The diversity of the culture ranges from things like the language all the way to a huge number of cultural groups, some of which have not yet been discovered. Due to this obscurity and low level of development, it is no surprise that the culture is largely traditional even though there is a bit of modernity. Despite creeping modernity, the government has decided to protect these traditional systems in the Papua New Guinea Constitution.

6. Religions Practiced

The law of the land allows the citizens of PNG to have the freedom to choose their religions without any fear of repercussion. As of 2011, a census conducted in the country showed that the majority of the population (about 95.6%) is Christian while non-Christians make up only 1.4%. Another portion of the population, about 3.1% of the population, chose not to respond. Despite the domination of Christianity, the traditional beliefs and practices of the people have been mixed with modern religions.

Protestants, who constitute a whopping 70% of the population in the country, dominate the majority of the population. These Protestants go to varying churches including the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea, the United Church in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Other churches include the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea, a diverse range of Pentecostal denominations, the Evangelical Alliance Papua New Guinea, and a few others. In addition, the Roman Catholic Church is present although it has a minority following of only 25% of PNG’s population.

The Muslim population in the country is minor. Estimates place the Muslim population in the country at around 2,000 people only. Of these 2,000 Muslims, most belong to the Sunni sect while the remaining belong to the Ahmadi group. The traditional beliefs are mostly centered on animism, that is, they involve the worship of objects or other worldly things like animals. Aside from animism, other traditions have certain aspects that involve praising the dead. These traditional systems are also known for their beliefs in evil spirits known as masalai, which “poison” people in order to kill them. Another common belief among the traditional systems is the practice of sorcery or puripuri.

5. Festivals

Most of the festival calendar in the country is dominated by cultural celebrations. The major reason for this cultural domination is the diversity in the ethnic groups living in the country and the deep-rooted traditionalism in the way of life. One such event is the Mt Hagen Show, which is held annually at the Kagamuga Show Grounds in order to display the splendid culture of PNG. Thousands of performers and spectators usually show up for this event. Other festivals include the Crocodile Festival to celebrate crocodiles, the Enga Cultural Show, which is held every August and frequented by tourists, and the Hiri Moale Festival to remember trading routes in the past. Other celebrations include the Morobe Province Agricultural Show and the Papua New Guinea Arts and Cultural Festival.

4. Cuisine

The staple food of the country includes starchy vegetables, which include yams, wild sago, sweet potatoes, rice, sweet potatoes, and breadfruit. These starchy foods are served together with things like fruit (such as coconuts and bananas) or wild greens. In addition to vegetation, the people eat meat from domesticated livestock as well as hunting of game like pork, marsupials, cassowaries, and birds. People living in the coast or areas with significant water bodies also eat fish, such as shellfish.

Meals are prepared twice a day from an oven dug on the ground. The food can be roasted or boiled. A common drink that is consumed throughout the day is tea while things like coconut milk, sugarcane, and leftovers are eaten during work. During ceremonial occasions, a large amount of meat is eaten.

3. Music And Dance

Traditional music is characterized by vibrant and colorful attired dancers who dance to their kind of music, which is known as sing-sing. The early stages of the 20 th century saw the emergence of pop music, which also came with new instruments such as the guitar and the ukulele. Aside from pop music, the country has reggae music as well as hip-hop artists such as O-shen and Naka Blood. Some of the notable musicians include Ali Baba, Justin Wellington, and many more.

2. Literature

Most of the literature in the country is oral since the majority of the population cannot read or write. Most historians and academicians started taking an active interest in the country in the period following 1960. Orally, the people pass on things like clan genealogies, magic and sorcery, mortuary chants, initiation, and other things. Consequently, radio is a crucial form of communication, especially for people living in isolated regions. Television services are mostly available in urban areas. Aside from this, there are ongoing publications such as the Wantok, The PNG Writer, and others. Publishing is still young although the early 2000s saw a new wave of writers and academics for both religious and non-religious content.

1. Social Beliefs And Etiquettes

Etiquette in the country mostly revolves around reciprocating good deeds and hospitability. However, reciprocation is not always a requirement due to different levels of income. What a well-off person can do, for a less fortunate person it may be to too big to reciprocate. Unlike other cultures, the young and the elderly mingle freely with little restriction. During ceremonies, the young and the old will be seen clasping hands or dancing together. However, chiefly societies require that the people show respect to chieftains.

By Ferdinand Bada

•culled from

Saturday 15 June 2019

Religious Beliefs In Palau

The island nation of Palau is located in the Pacific Ocean and is part of Micronesia. Christianity is the predominant religion in Palau.

The island nation of Palau is located in the Pacific Ocean and is part of Micronesia. Composed of 340 islands, Palau has a total area of 466 square km and a population of about 21,431. Indigenous Palauans make up 73% of the country’s population, and various Asian populations, especially from the Philippines, China and Korea, account for a combined 21.7% of Palau's total population. Carolinian and Caucasian populations represent 2% and 1.2% of Palau’s total population, respectively.

Religious Populations in Palau

According to the CIA World Factbook, Christianity is the predominant religion in Palua. In particular, Roman Catholicism is the most common Christian demonimation in Palau and is practiced by 45.3% of the population. 34.9% of the population adhere to various Protestant denominations, as Evangelicalism, Seventh Day Adventist, Assembly of God, and Baptism account for 26.4%, 6.9%, 0.9%, and 0.7% of Palau’s population, respectively). 5.7% of the country’s population practice the indigenous monotheistic religion, Modekngei. Islam, Mormonism, and other faiths are practiced by 3%, 1.5%, and 9.7% of the Palau’s population, respectively.

History of Religion in Palau

Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, Palau was primarily inhabited by indigenous Micronesian tribes that practiced polytheistic religions. The first Europeans in Palau were members of a Jesuit expedition from the Spanish Philippines led by Francisco Padilla that reached the islands in 1710. Although the Jesuits initially experienced misfortunes including shipwrecks and deaths, Spain took interest in the islands and sent Catholic missionaries to introduce Roman Catholicism in Palau. During the Second World War, Palau was occupied by Germany, and later Japan. While Germany sent both Roman Catholic and Protestant missionaries, Japan attempted to spread Buddhism and Shinto throughout the islands. After Japan was defeated in the Second World War, most of the Japanese population that had settled in the country converted to Christianity, while others left or continued to observe Buddhism. During the US colonial era in Palau following the Second World War, various Protestant Christian denominations were promoted in Palau.

Traditional Religion of Palauans

A segment of Palau's population practices Modekngei, which is a hybrid of ancient Palauan customs and Christianity. The religion rose to prominence around the time of the First World War, and is a religious movement that was started by an indigenous Palauan named Temedad. Followers of the Modekngei faith accept Jesus Christ as savior, but also observe indigenous rituals and customs of traditional deities. Some of the practices of Modekngei include leading a lifestyle based on purity, with strong attachments to the family and the community. Alcohol and drug use are prohibited by the religion. Church attendance is also high among followers of Modekngei.

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from
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