There are three concepts to describe Vanuatu: every island is a wonderland, forget the time, enjoy the strength of the volcano. The archipelago consists of this group of islands: Efate-Port Vila, Malekula&Ambrym, Espiritu Santo, Pentecost and Maewo, Banks and Torres, Tanna. With 113 distinct languages and innumerable dialects, Vanuatu is one of the most culturally diverse countries on earth. Vanuatu is a result of 2.500 years of immigration from many Pacific countries: a very special land. “With no written language, story telling, songs and dances are of paramount importance – says the Vanuatu Tourism Office – Art, in it’s many forms, from body decorations and tattoos, to elaborate masks, hats and carvings are also a vital part of ritual celebrations and the social life of the village. Similar to Australian Aboriginal stories of the dreamtime, and Maori legends of the past, ni-Vanuatu culture is also abundant in mythic legends. Natural formations, the presence and causes of volcanic eruptions and other natural disasters, are all imbibed with legends of significant cultural importance”.
Naturally, traditional societies’ economies are based on produce from the land. Staple foods are mostly root crops; yam, taro and manioc. Seasonal fruits like breadfruit are important mainstays. In most areas a portion of the jungle is simply cleared to plant crops. However in places where there is plenty of water, taro is grown in complex terraces hand built from earth and rocks. As mentioned above, pigs are a mainstay of the economy not just as food but as a form of money and prestige.
Vanuatu’s richness and diversity of culture is one of its primary attraction to visitors: it is one of the last south pacific paradise. All infos: Vanuatu Tourism Office www.vanuatutravel.info