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Kastom Village


Kastom Place Laura, Our Guide Ancestor`s Secret Place

Current villages on Malakula, Vanuatu are not in their old, original locations. Influenced my missionaries people abandoned their centuries old villages and moved to different places, where they live up to these days. Inhabitants of Malakula did not forget about their roots, they remember and visit their kastom (old, with tradition) villages. It is important for them because they believe that sprits of their ancestors still live there. Spiritual power resides in skulls and those are still to be found there. Bones are not important and are buried, but skulls are kept in secret places, usually under flat stones or in caves. The importance of the family depends on number of generations that it can trace back. Prove is always in kastom village where skulls of ancestors can be counted.


Old Kastom Village Secret Stones Slit Drum

We had an opportunity to see the old kastom village on Rano, offshore island of Malakula. A local woman was granted with the privilege from his father to take visitors to this spiritual place and tell them some family stories that were tabu not long time ago. In Vanuatu, kastom (set of rules that shapes every day living) protects styles in wood carving, dances, stories, regulates behavior etc. It should not be confused with official law, kastom is a local law that is not written anywhere, but everyone knows and obeys it. Kastom slightly differs from one village to another.