Local traditions and culture in Kiribati

  • Opening coconut
    Opening coconut
    by Rusket
  • The bird has landed
    The bird has landed
    by Rusket
  • Entertainment
    Entertainment
    by Rusket

Most Viewed Local Customs in Kiribati

  • ollyf's Profile Photo

    How to sit and lie

    by ollyf Written Sep 23, 2006

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you find yourself in a maneaba(village meeting house) or any communal gathering with locals, you will almost certainly be sitting on the floor for a long time, which can get a bit uncomfortable. You must remember the following: when eating or talking, you will be seated in a circle, so make sure you are always facing the inner circle. To face away from the rest of the group is considered rude. Also, sit with your feet either underneath you or tucked to the side, or with your legs crossed. Sitting with your feet pointing towards a person can be interpreted as a challenger. After the meal or meeting, you will be allowed to lie down, but if you do so, make sure your head is pointing towards the group, as it is considered rude to do otherwise.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Rusket's Profile Photo

    Opening coconuts

    by Rusket Updated Oct 13, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    After drinking the juice, Keetia showed us how to use a normal kitchen knife to break the shell open. You turn the knife around holding it by the blade, and use the handle to knock the nut in a circle around the top. On your second round the nut cracks open, and you can use the knife to scrape out and eat the remaining meat :-)

    This knowledge became very useful on our camping trip to Biketawa! (pic 2 - 4)

    Opening coconut Coconut palm, Biketawa Coconuts brought by watchman, Biketawa Peeling coconuts, Biketawa Peeling coconuts, Biketawa
    Related to:
    • Camping
    • Family Travel
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

  • Rusket's Profile Photo

    Meet the locals

    by Rusket Updated Oct 13, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In the coastal areas of Finnmark, Norway, people have the habit of taking a stroll on the wharf when boats arrive. In Kiribati they have the habit of waiting at the airports for the planes to land :-) It is kind of the same thing, homecoming friends and visiting travellers bring news from the rest of the world, and the ships / planes bring goods. When my youngest son was little, we often used to go to the airport to watch planes come and go, too. A little more traffic at Sola airport, though.

    As in Finnmark, it is a nice way of meeting the locals, and you are often entertained while waiting :-)

    The bird has landed Entertainment Waiting for the plane
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Adventure Travel
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

  • Rusket's Profile Photo

    Coconut juice

    by Rusket Updated Oct 13, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Keetia worked in the restaurant of Hotel Otiintai. We asked her for cocnut juice for breakfast, but they did not have any. The next day, on her day off, she brought us fresh coconuts which her brother had picked and peeled. She then tought us how to rip off the fibres and open up the eyes with a normal table knife. The coconuts we buy in Norway have a very hard, dark brown shell. We have to drill open the eyes and use a hammer or saw to open the nut after drinking the juice. These coconuts are young and fresh, and easy to open.

    Drinking coconut juice Coconuts growing Coconuts in hotel room fridge Making hole in coconut Coconut ready to drink
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

  • Rusket's Profile Photo

    White teeth

    by Rusket Updated May 25, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We asked our friend Keetia from Hotel Otiintai how come all people in Kiribati have such strong, pretty, white teeth. She told us the secret: Clean them with burned coconut. My son wanted to try it, you can see the result on this picture :-)

    Tooth brushing
    Related to:
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Rusket's Profile Photo

    Dance

    by Rusket Written May 17, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Our hosts on Pearl Shell Resthouse, Ioanna and Bakaati, are local primary school teachers on Butaritari. One of their collegues, an american woman, was going home after a couple of years, and they threw a party for her. We were invited too, since we were guests of the resort. The other collegues gave a performance of traditional dance.

    Traditional dance
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Theater Travel
    • Music

    Was this review helpful?

  • Rusket's Profile Photo

    Lavatory

    by Rusket Written May 2, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Most islanders use the ocean as a lavatory. And if not, the sewer leads into the ocean anyway. The picture shows my son going to the loo. In this case, on the ocean side of the atoll. But the lagoons are commonly used as well. Thus I agree with Glenn57 in his warning against swimming in the lagoon. We never did, after seeing what was floating around there :-( In some places, where the lagoon opens up into the ocean, the rise and fall of the tide sort of cleaned up, but it was not a nice sight! Somebody should donate a lot of biological toilets!

    Going to the loo
    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Beaches

    Was this review helpful?

  • Rusket's Profile Photo

    Building traditions

    by Rusket Written May 2, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The old building tradition is still very common, especially on the outer islands, but also on Tarawa. Houses are built from material found on the islands, that is trunks and leaves from palms and other trees like the pandanus tree. The construction elements are tied together with string made from coconut fibres. The pictures shows me learning how to make string.

    Making string
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Rusket's Profile Photo

    Bathing

    by Rusket Written Apr 20, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    People are a bit conservative when it comes to showing the body. Both men and women should wear shorts and t-shirts when bathing and sun bathing. The bikini I am wearing in this picture is NOT deasant. But I took a risk, since we were far from other people and it was in the middle of the night ;-)

    Camping on Biketawa
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • National/State Park
    • Camping

    Was this review helpful?

  • AyurinHiro's Profile Photo

    Usually,there is a assembly...

    by AyurinHiro Written Aug 26, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Usually,there is a assembly hall in a village. And sometimes,they hold a meeting.PHOTO:DANCE PARTY AFTER RELIGIOUS MEETING.

    Was this review helpful?

Kiribati Hotels

See all 1 Hotels in Kiribati
  • Captain Cook Hotel

    In fact I did not stay tehre but spent several hopurs drinking beers and talking with the owner, who...

    more
  • Ask a Question

    Got a question about Kiribati? Get an answer from our Location locals and frequent travelers
  • Write a Review

    Have you been to Kiribati? Write about Kiribati to help travelers.

Instant Answers: Kiribati

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

40 travelers online now

Comments

Kiribati Local Customs

Reviews and photos of Kiribati local customs posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Kiribati sightseeing.
Map of Kiribati