Traditions and Customs
The Solomon Islands are a melting pot of South Pacific cultures that have blended over time to create a diverse spectrum of traditions throughout the Hapi Isles. Some traditions are practiced on a daily basis whilst others are reserved for special occasions. In regional areas of the country, traditional customs are highly revered societal norms. Tribal history still influences modern life through sports, food recipes, clothing and ceremonies.
Solomon Islands Traditions
When traveling to our Melanesian archipelago homeland you will notice many interesting traditions. Here’s a few:
Yes, you read it right! Carved shell money is still used today as currency instead of Solomon Dollars. In some provinces shell money is used primarily for ceremonies, settling disputes, and as bridal and land payments.
Spear Dancing Festival
This exciting festival is held annually at Santa Catalina Island in the stunning Makira Province. The flight from Honiara is a short but beautiful one over blue seas but it’s the event itself that you will remember! The event begins with the blowing of conch shells after midnight. Then people run through the village fiercely beating the ground whilst avoiding burning coconuts husks thrown wildly by those with scores to settle. The next day hundreds of men line the shore and throw spears as far as they can into the sea in a display of power and strength. The festival is a celebration of fertility, friendship and ending any tensions from throughout the year.
The Lagoon Festival
People from all over Roviana Lagoon gather in Munda for this lively celebration. Family and friends of all ages unite as the villagers parade in floats both on water and land. The festival energy is a joyful blend of cultural and ocean-based activities, including a mix of competitions such as rafting & swimming races. Expect to see locals dressed in authentic attire such as grass skirts, ornate headgear and decorative body paint.
Solomons Islands Customs
- Kastom is Pijin for the English word 'custom'. It represents the traditional ways of doing things. Combined with the Wantok system these form the core of how Solomon Islanders live their lives.
- Wantok easily translates as 'one talk'. It describes the way Islanders feel a common duty with people who speak the same language/talk the same tongue. This plays a most significant role in why kinship and clan ties are strong in the Solomon Islands. There are 63 different languages spoken in the country, however Pidgin English is used by most people as the common language.
- Christianity is the most prevalent religion in the region so it’s no surprise that Christmas and Easter festivities are a mass celebration throughout the Hapi Isles. Family and friends gather to feast on local dishes that usually include staple foods such as seafood, pork, chicken, yams and of course, tropical fruit with coconut.
Solomon Islanders have incorporated a wonderful blend of Melanesian and Polynesian cultures through traditional dance, wedding celebrations, local cuisine, arts and crafts, tribal law and sport.