Facts File

10 Interesting Facts About Marshall Islands

Facts about Marshall Islands
Sarah and her brother Josa outside her boyfriend's parents' house in Rairok, a village just outside the Marshall Islands' capital of Majuro | Photo Credit: hakaimagazine.com

The Marshall Islands are a chain of volcanic islands and coral atolls.  The country is in the Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and the Philippines. Majuro atoll is the capital and is the island's largest settlement. Here are ten interesting facts about Marshall Islands that you will love to know.  Enjoy!

Population: 52,634 (2013) World Bank

Capital: Majuro

Currency: United States dollar (USD)

President: Hilda Heine

Continent: Oceania

System of Government: Unitary parliamentary republic

Official Languages: English, Marshallese

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Interesting Facts About Marshall Islands

1. ROUTE FOR DEAD BODY

The body of a chief about to be buried is never carried over lawns or near any food gardens.  It is believed that such would make everything die or the trees would bear no fruits.

2. NO TATTOO AFTER RAIN

Chiefs prohibited tattoos just after a rain.  It was believed that doing it would bring heavy and destructive storms.

3. NO PUBLIC DATING

Dating in Marshall Islands is a secret affair.  It is considered odd for dating couples to meet in public or during the day.

4. HUSBAND MOVES TO WIFE

The people follow what the Bible stipulates concerning marriage:  the man is the one that moves to be with the woman.  But this is mainly because the culture is matrilineal.  Central factor of inheritance is derived through mother, not father.

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5. WOMEN LEAD FROM BEHIND

The same matrilineal structure again...while men perform public functions, women's behind-the-scene decisions predominate.

6. COUSIN MOSTLY MARRY

Marriage between related "cross-cousins" usually living on a different atoll is more rampant than marriages between totally non-related youths.

7. "COOKHOUSE" NOT A KITCHEN

Members of as many as four or even five household groups could live together.  When this happens, they are called a cookhouse group, and can be headed by either a female or a male elder.

8. RESPECT RULES

One must not walk on front of, upwind of, or allow one's head to rise above the head of one's senior.  And in speech, persons of lower rank usually begin with, "I know my words are of lower importance in comparison to ..."

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9. BURIAL AND EXHUMATION

Land is limited, so burial on land used to be a luxury.  In the past, only rich or important people were buried on land; the rest at sea.  A body has never been exhumed in the Marshall Islands.  No records of it at all are available.

10. WAKE-KEEP MOST COSTLY

The most expensive segment of funeral in the Marshall Islands if the Ilomej or wake-keep.  It costs well over $5,000USD.

Hope you enjoy these 10 interesting facts about Marshall Islands.

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