Orango

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This article is about an island off the African coast. For unfinished opera by Shostakovich, see Orango (opera).

Orango is one of the Bijagós Islands, located 60 kilometers[1] (38 miles) off the coast of mainland Guinea-Bissau. It is the centre of the Ilhas de Orango National Park and has one town, Eticoga.

Orango is known for its saltwater hippopotamuses.[2]

Matrimonial traditions[edit]

Orango's inhabitants developed a number of distinct matrimonial traditions which are unique with respect to the role played by women.[3] Marriage is formally proposed by women — their choice of spouse is made public to the groom-to-be and the rest of the community by an offer of a dish of specially prepared fish, marinated in red palm oil.[1]According to tradition, the offer is accepted by eating the fish, and cannot be turned down without dishonor. The marriage becomes official months later, after the bride-to-be, with no help from the groom, builds the couple a new home out of driftwood, blond grass, and mud bricks.[1]

In recent years the island's traditions are competing with outside influences, both economic and religious. Men increasingly travel to the mainland to work, bringing back the mainland's trappings and ideas. Men and women have adopted religious practices introduced by Protestant missionaries, which have also reduced the influences of the island's matrimonial traditions.

References and footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Women, not men, choose spouses on African isle - International Herald Tribune
  2. ^ Orango Islands National Park
  3. ^ According to anthropologist Christine Henry, a researcher at France's CNRS.

Coordinates: 11°14.965′N 16°13.27′W / 11.249417°N 16.22117°W / 11.249417; -16.22117