Traditions and customs New Caledonia

Traditions and customs New Caledonia

Kanak culture

THEtraditional customary organization continues to govern the daily life of the clans of New Caledonia, especially in the Loyalty Islands, but also on the Isle of Pines and along the east coast of Grande Terre.
It is essential to respect it, in particular by doing "custom", that is to say by offering a small cadeau (cigarettes, small bank note, sarong, etc.) to the chief of the tribe you are visiting, as a sign of respect, but also by asking for permission to venture into the "taboo" places.

Accommodation in tribal lodge is a privileged opportunity to discover Kanak culture and Kanak activities: traditional activities such as braiding, guided hikes, sea trips, ceremonies and dances ...

Traditional wooden sculpture

The ridge spire, a small carved totem pole that rises on the roof of the huts, is an example of the importance of wood carving in Kanak culture. It is the symbol of the clan and honors the ancestors. On Île des Pins, you can see carved wooden totem poles near Saint-Maurice beach.

Traditional clothes

The mission dress, long, loose and without neckline, was imposed on women by Christian missionaries who considered traditional dress indecent. Still worn, today it is adorned with shimmering colors and lace and is claimed as a local garment.

A habit of politeness to respect. Whenever you pass someone, be sure to wave your hand at them. It is a local habit.

A little history of New Caledonia

- Melanesians, originally from the Borneo region and the Philippines, transited through the Solomon Islands before settling, 1 BC, in New Caledonia. A migratory wave from Polynesia swept over the archipelago between the eleventh and eighteenth centuries, causing a mixture of populations.

- first Europeans did not arrive until the XNUMXth century and missionaries French Catholics and English Protestants landed in the 1853th century. The annexation of New Caledonia was ordered in XNUMX by Napoleon III and the archipelago quickly became a penal colony.
From the start of the colonization, hostilities broke out between Kanaks and settlers, because the latter did not respect tribal and sacred lands. Begins an inglorious period during which the French dispossess the natives of their land, forcing them to live on reserves and to work for the settlers or the French authorities.

It was only after World War II and the obtaining of the Overseas Territory status (TOM) by New Caledonia that the citizenship of Kanaks is recognized by the Constitution. They obtained the right to vote and the first political party comprising Melanesians appeared in 1953.

The independence of Fiji in 1970 and Papua New Guinea in 1975 will inspire the Kanaks and the 1980s are marked by the rise of the Kanak independence movement. Tensions increased with the attempts at repression and extended from 1984 (date of creation of the Socialist Kanak National Liberation Front or FLNKS) to 1988, year of signing of the Matignon (June 26, 1988) and Oudinot ( August 20, 1988) which made it possible to ease political tensions and initiate economic rebalancing.
The Nouméa Accord, signed in 1998, provides for the establishment of a referendum on independence between 2014 and 2018.

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