The term ‘culture’ can be defined as the cumulative deposit of knowledge, values, beliefs, experience, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving. People learn culture, and if the process of learning is a fundamental characteristic of culture, then teaching also is vital characteristic. The way culture is taught and reproduced is itself a significant component of culture. The first culture to be explored is the culture of the people of the South Pacific. Vanuatu
A population of approximately 243,300 inhabits the tropical island nation of the Republic of Vanuatu, located in the South Pacific Ocean. These people are mostly of Melanesian descent and the official language is Bislama. It is typical of a Vanuatu child to be nursed until three years old. Both parents are responsible for childcare, but the siblings, especially an older sister, are very much involved with the infant. They are the ones to carry, feed, and entertain him or her. Babies are almost always carried in arms. Physical punishment for children is often used. Ritual initiation is commonplace for the Ni- Vanuatu, and many communities practice these ceremonies to ensure the growth of their offspring. Pigs, kava, mats, and many other goods are exchanged between a child’s father’s and mother’s families during the ceremony. As part of a ritual event, a boy will be circumcised between the ages of six and twelve. Primary education is taught in either English or French, and less than ten percent of these children will continue on to secondary school. Most children walk to the nearest school and may even board there for the school week. The adult literacy rate has been estimated at about 55-70 percent. The men of Vanuatu take part in a yearly harvest ritual called Land Diving. The dive takes place around April or May of every year. The purpose of this ritual is twofold. Firstly, it is performed as a sacrifice to the Gods to ensure a bountiful yam crop for the next season. Second, it is a rite of passage to initiate the boys into manhood. Boys will take part in the land diving, even as young as five years old. Oftentimes, a ritualistic circumcision will be completed afterwards. The ritual of land diving is a Vanuatu practice that is nearly fifteen centuries old. The surrounding villages build crude wooden towers that reach a height of 100 feet or more. Men volunteer to scale this tower once it is completed. The men tie a vine to the platform of the tower, and then tie the same vine to their ankles. Courageously, the men then dive from the platform, head first, reaching speeds of over 45 mph as the plunge towards the ground. The goal of this jump is to land close enough to the ground so that the diver’s shoulders actually touch the ground. The vine’s length is paramount. A miscalculation can mean potential death, or serious injury. The next culture to dissect is the culture of the people of the Arctic Circle.
Inuit of Greenland
Greenland is a country within the Kingdom of Denmark located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. Greenland is the world’s largest island that is not a continent. The people of Greenland are predominantly Inuit. The region south of the Arctic Circle is home to the largest Inuit population in the world. This region of barren tundra is one of the least hospitable regions to human habitation. The Inuit place a great deal of importance on the time of year in which a child is born. Children born during the winter months are called axigrin, and those born in the summer are called aggrin. The Inuit celebrate different birth rituals according to the birth season, and even the types of food and type of clothes will differ with respect to birth season. The “Greenlanders believe their children are born with complete personalities and are...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document