The Island of Free Love

No, this isn’t the title of another cheesy chick-flick; it is an actual place which is a utopia for amorous people. The Trobriand Islands, also known as Kiriwina Islands, is an archipelago off the eastern coast of New Guinea. Its inhabitants have a very loose concept of marital fidelity and pre-marriage sex relations. They take casual approach to virginity; no girl is required to stay virgin for her wedding night.

A person is allowed to have as many lovers as he or she wishes, pre- or post-marriage. The wedding ceremony is also very informal, a couple who spent the night together at the woman’s home and shared a meal together is considered married. As a matriarchal society, the mothers take the main role in the upbringing. The marriage is a sweet deal for both sides: husbands bring gifts to their lovelier halves and get affection and carnal display of love in return.

Virginity, especially female virginity is not a big deal, nor a taboo. Marital fidelity is also a foreign concept; the married people can have as many of extra-marital lovers as they want. They even have special love nest for these escapades, mud-and-straw huts named bukumatula.

If you think that jealousy induced brawls and spiteful cat-fights are an everyday issue, then think again. Every dispute in their villages, ever the ones between spouses and lovers are solved via sport: they hold marathon-length cricket matches which allows everyone involved to spend the negative energy and think with cooler heads. One might find this adaptation of a European sport strange, yet bear in mind that these islands were once colonized and the local inhabitants were prohibited from using any kind of weapon for waging wars. Thus, they adopted cricket in a very zealous form as to blow some steam.

It is not wonder that physical love is such a frivolous thing there, these people are of medium height, yet long of limbs, graceful and slender. Their clothing, especially the women’s attire leave almost nothing to the imagination: girls and women wear only short, fringe-decorated skirts in bright, eye-catching red, yellow and pink. The upper clothing is mostly limited to equally elaborated necklaces, belts and bracelets.

These people are very traditional and close-knit community. They have their very own standards of beauty and appeal. Perhaps their disliking for Caucasian feature, lighter skin color and uncurled hair is protecting from nosy tourists who would turn this love paradise into seedy exploitation for their own pleasure.

The inhabitants of the island make their living by agriculture, fishing and trading. Every resource is controlled by the matrilineal clans. They use money, but also banana peels and kula shells as their exchange currency. They have their own religious beliefs, where the spirits of the dead play a great role. As for taboos, theirs is limited on food. In the Trobriand society, it’s considered very rude to eat in front of others. Everyone take their meals in the privacy of their own houses, with the backs turned to the other family members. Dancing is a favorite pastime.

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