Friday, August 21, 2009

Palauan First-Born (Ngasech) Ceremony, Part Four

Around 11am the preparation of the girls begins. Usually there are a couple young girls (family members) who will flank the mother during the ceremony. At Emadch's ceremony she had four girls along with her. The older women of the family do all the beautifying.

[The older girls' attire is entirely made up of foliage]

[Early on the girls are coated with ginger, which colors them yellow. Just before the ceremony that are coated with coconut oil which serves to make them shine and smell wonderful]

Usually the celebrated mother will receive a piece of Palauan money from the father's family as a gift. It's a big deal because Palauan money is made of really old pottery and there is a fixed amount of money in the system. Most families have some, richer families have a lot. Yellow is rare and really valuable. The bigger pieces, which are round in form because they originate from pottery, are also quite valuable.
Since Emadch's husband is Australian he cannot provide a piece of money for her. So she borrowed this piece from a family member for the ceremony.

[Emadch is all rubbed down in yellow ginger, getting her hair done by a friend who came in from Australia]

[The band keeps the guests entertained while all the preparation takes place inside. (This lady has been the most popular performer since well before I came into Peace Corps seven years ago - she's made a lucrative career out of it.)]


Dave said...

Great Photos! I'm Dave, by the way This is my family but I wasn't able to make the Ngasech. I'm so happy you got some great pictures. Did you happen to get anymore to share? I know that Mella was also doing the bath, maybe you have more picts.



Dave said...

Dave, which Dave are you? (Do I know you?) I have at least two more posts on this ngasech to do, so yes, there will be more pictures. I will cover Mella's ceremony probably late next week. Glad you found the site!

nchan said...

lisa!!! :) hope she sang "bom soro" -- that's my favorite.

what a fantastic visit, dave! you covered 2 ngasech's? that's awesome.

Dave said...

I never did know that lady's name until you just wrote it. She's so crazy.. I don't even know if she recognized me. I also don't know the names of the songs, but it's probably safe to say she sang 'bom soro' because I think they played for about 8 hours.