|Native name: |
Orango in the Uno Sector
|Area||272.5 km2 (105.2 sq mi)|
|Length||22.5 km (13.98 mi)|
|Width||22.5 km (13.98 mi)|
Orango is one of the Bijagós Islands, located 60 kilometers (38 miles) off the coast of mainland Guinea-Bissau. At 272.5 km2 (105.2 sq mi), it is the largest island in the archipelago. The island has a population of 1,250 (2009 census); the largest village is Eticoga. With the neighbouring islands Imbone, Canongo, Meneque and Orangozinho it forms the Orango National Park. It belongs to the Uno Sector.
Orango's inhabitants developed a number of distinct matrimonial traditions which are unique with respect to the role played by women. 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. 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.
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
- População por região, sector e localidades por sexo censo 2009, Instituto Nacional de Estatística Guiné-Bissau
- Women, not men, choose spouses on African isle - International Herald Tribune
- Orango in the Catalogue of Islands at UNEP (United Nations Environment Program) - accessed 16 November 2018
- Orango Islands National Park
- Peter Karibe Mendy; Lobban Jr. (17 October 2013). Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-8027-6.
- According to anthropologist Christine Henry, a researcher at France's CNRS.
- Blog with pictures (2009) (in Portuguese)
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