Vanuatu culture maintains a high level of variety due to local regional differences and international influence. Vanuatu is split into three cultural areas. Wealth in the north is determined by how much one can give away, as determined by a grade-taking system. Pigs, especially those with rounded tusks, are seen as a sign of prosperity in Vanuatu. Traditional Melanesian cultural systems predominate in the center. In the south, a system of title grants with accompanying privileges has evolved.
Young males are initiated into manhood via different coming-of-age rites and rituals, which often include circumcision.
Most communities have a nakamal, or village clubhouse, that serves as a gathering area for males and a place to drink kava. There are also male and female-only sectors in villages. These portions are located throughout the villages; in nakamals, specific areas are given for ladies during their menstrual cycle.
There are a few notable Ni-Vanuatu writers. Grace Mera Molisa, a women’s rights activist who died in 2002, rose to worldwide prominence as a descriptive poet.
Vanuatu’s indigenous music is still alive and well in the country’s rural regions. Musical instruments are primarily made up of idiophones, which include drums of different shapes and sizes, slit gongs, stamping tubes, and rattles, among other things. String band music is another musical form that became popular in all regions of Vanuatu throughout the twentieth century. It mixes guitars, ukuleles, and well-known tunes.
Vanuatu’s music industry developed quickly in the 1990s, and many bands have established an unique ni-Vanuatu identity. Zouk music and reggaeton are two popular genres of contemporary commercial music that are presently being played in metropolitan areas. Reggaeton, a Spanish-language version of rap/hip-hop performed with its own unique rhythm, is particularly popular in Port Vila’s local nightclubs, where it is mainly heard by Westerners and visitors.
Vanuatu cuisine (aelan kakae) includes seafood, root vegetables such as taro and yams, fruits, and vegetables. Most island households produce their own food in their gardens, and food scarcity is uncommon. Throughout the year, papayas, pineapples, mangoes, plantains, and sweet potatoes are plentiful. Many recipes are flavored with coconut milk and cream. The majority of food is cooked on hot stones or by boiling and steaming; relatively little food is fried.
The lap lap is Vanuatu’s national dish.