(Federated States of Micronesia)
- Location: Pacific Ocean
- Capital: Palikir
- Language: English is the official language
- Population: 110,728
- Total Area: 702 sq km
- Currency: US Dollar
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 5.50 liters
- The most popular drink: On one of the islands called Chuuk, there is a rum called “Grand Award 151 Rum.” The 151 in the name means that it is one hundred fifty one proof, which means that it is 75.5% pure alcohol. Most standard liquors are 80 proof or 40% pure alcohol. Grand Award is twice as strong.
The islands of Micronesia are almost endlessly varied. A visitor will find an array of cultures and traditions that have survived centuries of colonialism and consumerism, making Micronesia one of the most culturally diverse and colorful places to visit. The islands are a scuba diver’s paradise because of the crystal clear waters, varied and colorful coral life, and some of the deepest depths in the region. For the non-diver, dry land offers many activities as well, most notably a tour of the many archaeological sites of Pohnpe and the ruins of Nan Madol.
The population of Micronesia is a culturally diverse group of people, with eight major indigenous languages and varied cultural traditions. Like the natives of Polynesia and Melanesia, the people of Micronesia have a deep love of music. It not only expresses the individuality of each person, but also the individuality of each island’s cultural heritage. Music can be heard in the early morning while the toddy cutters are at work, in the babai or taro pits, and until late at night when traditional dances and celebrations are carried out.
Micronesians consider food to be a very important and integral part of local culture and communal existence. Food is to be shared with friends and family and visitors to the islands. Heavily influenced by Asian culture, many dishes on these islands include rice, something not seen in other parts of the Pacific Islands, where root vegetables take precedent. Whether they are cooking dishes that go back in time for centuries or more modern dishes, Micronesian cooks, both in restaurants and at home, take pride in their food and enjoy sharing it with others.
Drinking is allowed on some islands, and on some is not. On the islands that allow it, you will most likely find the national drink called Sakau which is a traditional drink used in ceremonies. Another national beverage of the people is fresh lime juice with water. It’s refreshing and thought to be good for digestion. For a more potent libation, there is the local rum which is 151 proof, and the locals only mix it with a small bit of water.
Celebrations And Holidays
One of the best festivals to attend in the Federated States of Micronesia is the Yap Festival which takes place every year on the first weekend of March. The festival is one of merriment and a lot of dancing. The various types of dances that take place in this occasion include stick dances, kneeling dances, standing dances, and sitting dances. The men and women of the villages wearbrightly-colored costumes and perform beautiful dance feats that awe the spectators. Yap Day festival is so important to the localsof Micronesia that the participants start choreographing their dances the year before the event.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).
Jenna Bruce, Fairlee, VT
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