The Solomon Islands, a collection of islands located in the South Pacific Ocean, is the place offering a variety of opportunities for those who are keen on diving. Many divers from all over the world visit the islands regularly in order to dive underwater and see spectacular views of reefs as well as underwater species in their natural habitat. Due to the big number of diving sites the depth of which vary, all divers are recommended to define the goal of their diving before taking action.
Besides, the islands are also popular among tourists who prefer to spend their holidays lying on a beach, swimming and enjoying wild tropical views. Even though the Solomon Islands stand out as one of the most exotic travel destinations in the world, white beaches and great views are not all that the islands have to entertain visitors. Today, we want to tell our readers a bunch of interesting facts from the culture and history of the islands. Let’s see what these facts are…
The Solomon Islands: 8 interesting facts about one of the biggest island countries in the world
1. The Solomon Islands is the place consisting of many islands
You may be surprised to learn that the country consists of as many as 900 islands, with half of them being unoccupied. Guadalcanal, the largest of all the islands, serves home to Honiara, the capital of the country. The list of other populated islands that play an important role in the life of the country and are popular among visitors includes Santa Isabel, New Georgia, Malaita, Choiseul and San Cristobal islands.
2. The islands were discovered in the 16th century
The islands were discovered by Álvaro de Mendaña, who decided to name them in honor of the wealthy King Solomon. He believed that the islands, like the King, had rich sources of gold as well as other treasures, an interesting fact about Solomon Islands.
3. The country is multilingual
Despite the fact that English is stated to be the official language of the country, only 2% of the total population speak it fluently. English is used as the main language of instruction at schools and during church services, but the language itself is often different from the one that is used by native English speaker. It’s the so-called pidgin English.
A fun fact about Solomon Islands is that there are around 74 languages that can be heard on the islands daily. The majority of these languages have been influenced by a variety of the languages spoken in the neighboring countries and native languages of the people living on the islands.
4. The islanders do not have such notions as “breakfast”, “lunch” and “dinner”
The diet of an average islander living in rural areas involves yams, taros, seashells, fish, greens and snails. Since the meals are not divided and identified as “breakfast”, “lunch” or “dinner”, people simply eat what they have at the times when they are hungry. Surprisingly, the meals are not spicy and may be served with a glass of coconut milk. The harvesting season brings changes to the diet of the natives adding nuts as one of the possible meals.
The diet of those living in urban areas is rapidly changing, with rice and canned meat (or fish) becoming one of the most favorite meals. Canned tuna is also in demand as it’s the best source of protein.
5. The country’s natives place value on the habit of gathering together
Nowadays, the tradition of a family gathering together around a table to eat is becoming more and more popular. In the majority of cases, eating meals together is one of the few opportunities for relatives to talk with each other and discuss the news of a day.
The meals of families with a limited budget are different from the meals served at the houses of affluent families. While well-off people can afford tea, coffee, bread and biscuits, members of poor families often have to eat leftovers from previous meals and drink tea.
6. The Solomon Islands’ natives have a habit of preparing lots of meals for the celebration of special occasions
The time before a special occasion is used for preparation that takes lots of efforts. One of the most common meals served to guests are dishes where baked pig is the main ingredient, yam, a special pudding and roasted fish. Those who have a big sum of money to spend on preparations order or cook meals with cow meat.
Truth be told, the islanders do not drink alcohol or cocktails containing alcohol. Water is considered to be the main drink, even on special occasions. In some cases, hosts order green coconut drinks to be served after the main course.
7. The islanders had a number of unique wedding traditions
Since in the past natives believed that two people fell in love with each other while living together as a married couple, it was common for marriages to be arranged. As a rule, marriages outside of a clan were the norm, but exceptions were made sometimes. There also existed the tradition of the so-called “bride gift” that was given to compensate “the loss” of a family member.
Many of the traditions of the past do not exist in the realities of the present. Most often, people chose their spouses independently, but with the blessing of their families. The couples that live together without being officially married are regarded with a disapproving eye.
8. The country’s standards of maturity and adulthood are not age-based
Regardless of age, a boy is viewed as an adult if he is able to build a house (or canoe) and make a garden, an interesting Solomon Islands fact. As for girls, they are seen as adults if they’re able to look after their family members, fetch water and take responsibility for growing a garden of different vegetables and fruits.
Even though being regarded as the place where one can spend an unforgettable vacation, the Solomon Islands often suffer from natural disasters like tsunami, floods and earthquakes. One of the worst floods was that caused by the tropical cyclone in April 2014. If you decide to visit the Solomon Islands, chose the season carefully.
I hope that this article on Solomon Islands facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Country Facts Page!