The Culture Of Nauru

An aerial view of Nauru.
An aerial view of Nauru.

The Micronesian island country of Nauru is the smallest state in the South Pacific region. After the Vatican City and Monaco, Nauru is the world's third-smallest country. It has a population of only around 9,692 individuals. 88.9% of the population comprises of indigenous Nauruans who belong to a variety of tribes and clans. The part-Nauruans, i-Kiribatis, and other ethnic minorities comprise the rest of the population.

Nauruan is the official language of the country and is spoken by about 93% of the population. English is also widely spoken and understood. Chinese and I-Kiribati languages also have speakers in the nation. Most Nauruans (about 60.4% of the population) are Protestant Christians. A significant section of the population (33%) is affiliated to the Roman Catholic Church.

Cuisine Of Nauru

Seafood, coconuts, and bananas are the most important components of a Nauruan diet. Coconut milk is used extensively in the Nauruan dishes. The country’s cuisine is also heavily influenced by both European and Chinese cuisines. There are about 138 Chinese restaurants in the country. Banana and coconut are important ingredients of Christmas cakes. Coconut mousse is a favorite of the people.

Art And Craft Of Nauru

Nauru has a thriving art and craft industry that mainly caters to the tourist market. Shops of local artisans selling their crafts can be spotted in the most touristed areas in the country. Mats, baskets, straw hats, vibrant cotton clothing, shell ornaments, paintings, etc., are some of the handicrafts produced by the Nauruans. Many of these products involve the use of parts of the coconut tree like the fiber or coir. The Nauru Philatelic Bureau also sells rare stamps.

Performance Arts Of Nauru

Music and dance are among the most popular forms of expression in Nauru. Celebrations and cultural festivals in the country often involve rhythmic singing and dancing. Radio Nauru, the sole non-commercial radio company in the country preserves a collection of the local people’s music. However, the young Nauruans hardly understand the contents of these songs. Today, contemporary music has largely captured the popularity previously enjoyed by the traditional forms of music.

Sports In Nauru

Football is the most popular sport in Nauru. The country has gained significant fame in the sphere of basketball when its national team beat those of the Solomon Islands and Fiji in the 1969 Pacific Games. Both the losing teams had populations many times higher than Nauru. Other games enjoyed by Nauruans include softball, tennis, golf, sailing, swimming, etc. Weightlifting and bird-catching are traditional games of Nauru. Birds are caught with a lasso as they return from the sea at sunset. The birds that are caught are usually roosted as pets.

Life In A Nauruan Society

Women in Nauru have nearly the same rights and freedoms as men. The matrilineal social system where social ties are maintained through the mother gives a lot of power to Nauruan women. However, men still hold higher ranks in politics and business. Women are mainly employed in academics and social services, etc.

Each individual Nauruan belongs to a matrilineal clan and the formal birth and death certificates mention the clan affiliation of the individual. Marriage does not alter the clan of the individual. However, there are strict regulations that one cannot marry within one’s own clan.

Marriages are primarily executed in the Christian style and the children born of the marriage are affiliated to the maternal clan. The mother is the center of the household and the senior-most male serves as only the nominal head of the family.

Extended families are more common than nuclear ones. Inheritance is matrilineal. Although both sons and daughters inherit, it is the daughters who can pass on their rights to their children. The older generations, especially the eldest female of a household, is highly respected.

Nauruans are devout Christians and often a prayer opens most gatherings. The European style of clothing is popular and several elements of Australian etiquette are adopted by the people of Nauru.


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