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Documentary "Warriors of the Sea, Dances of Love"
Though the dances contain elements of magic, not all are performed for religious reasons. Among the inhabitants of the Trobriand islands, there are a number of dances simply for pleasure, performed at special celebrations, or as a kind of courtship ritual. The nearly naked girls perform sexy dances.
Each step has a particular symbolism. All the movements correspond to a specific wish, which is interpreted by the matchmakers. They are performed after the yams have been harvested. The naked girls paint their faces with the symbols of their families and clans. These serve to identify them.
In this way, the men of their own clan will turn their attention to other girls who they will be able to marry for these people are exogamous.The courtships end with the arrival of the rains.
By that time, the matchmakers will have decided which couples can marry the next year, after having received the approval of their parents and the council of ancients, who will determine the price of the dowries and on what terms these are to be paid.
The people of the islands are very different from those of Papua New Guinea. Though they belong to the same country, their customs have nothing in common. Papua New Guinea is enormous, and there are stills tribes who live entirely isolated in the interior. In the highlands, the first contacts with white men took place very recently, just 50 years ago. On the islands, things were very different. European sailors arrived there much earlier, and today cultural influences have been absorbed to a much greater extent.
Something they greatly value, as well as the betel, is tobacco. This is prepared in a very rudimentary way. The leaves, dried in caves, are smoked in pipes, or wrapped to make cigarettes. Tobacco is also used in rituals, it is a liturgical element. Its smell attracts the spirits.
In Rabaul, they still use the sell mony or traditional currency, which they call tambu. They are small shells threaded together to make necklaces of a particular value. These shells are very difficult to find. The measure used for each necklace is equivalent to the number of shells that fit in a small beer bottle. Each necklace has around three hundred shells. Each group of ten necklaces makes up a loloi, which has the value of thirty kinas, the official currency of the country.
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