Every year, the last week of September is recognized as the time for Lutok Koban Alele, which means ”the pouring out of all the products, stories, knowledge of Alele (museum). The last Friday of September is a national holiday called “Manit Day” (culture day) and during this day and into the next, traditional competitions are held, such as coconut husking, weaving baskets, various types of races, canoe sail races and canoe paddle races, along with traditional dancing. The photos below illustrate some of the activities on “Manit Day 2015”.
Photos courtesy Carol Curtis
Jaki-ed are very finely woven pandanus mats with intricate designs. The skill of weaving these mats has been revived over the past few years through the efforts of the Jaki-ed program sponsored by the University of South Pacific campus in Majuro, Marshall Islands. Every year the University of the South Pacific holds a jaki-ed auction to raise money for the weavers. The jaki-ed on the left (light tan and off-white in color) won first in the show in 2014, and is possibly the finest and smallest weaving seen in the Marshall Islands in the past 80 years or so. Both mats are now on display in the museum and the public library.
May 1st-August 31st, 2000
Among the seaman of the world are sailors of Marshall Islands of the Pacific Ocean. They have always been skillful in Navigation.
The Marshallese people of long ago, spent much time on the water under the open sky. They traveled long distances by canoes without becoming lost. Even at night they knew where they were, for they kept their outrigger canoes pointed to the well-known stars. They knew the group of stars and had their own names for them.
The knowledge of navigation was secret, it was taught by one generation to another only through certain persons. Without the navigator, the people would have been helpless on the ocean.
Today few korkor, tipnol, and walap exist anymore, sailing between atoll is becoming rare. In the Marshall Islands, sailing between islands was common.
The outrigger canoes of the Marshall Islands are such sophisticated and well engineered craft which, combined with one of the most advanced methods of navigation, allowed the Marshallese to voyage long distances. For thousands of years, the outrigger canoe was means of transportation upon which the subsistence economy of the Marshall Islands relied. It has become clear that the traditional sailing canoes of the Marshall Islands do conform with a “modern world” role model in the form of an appropriate technology suited perfectly to the economic of a Pacific Islands lifestyle.