French Polynesia Culture

French Polynesia, a group of islands located in the South Pacific, is known for its rich culture and history. The people of French Polynesia, also known as Tahitians, have a deep connection to their land and sea, which is reflected in their art, music, and dance. To know more about French Polynesian culture, keep on reading this article.


extended family vacationTraditional Polynesian Customs and Beliefs

French Polynesia, a nation of more than 100 islands in the South Pacific, is known for its rich Polynesian heritage. The close ties to the land and sea are one of the most significant features of Polynesian culture. Traditional rituals and beliefs, like the practice of ancestor worship, which maintains that the spirits of departed loved ones continue to play a role in the lives of the living, reflect this relationship.

The importance placed on family and community in Polynesian culture is another significant feature. Extended families cohabitated, worked together, and made decisions as a unit in traditional Polynesian society. In French Polynesia, where extended families frequently coexist and lend a hand when needed, this emphasis on community is still evident.

The Influence of French Colonization on the Culture

The colonial past of France has had a significant impact on French Polynesia. French adventurer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville had the first European contact with the islands in 1767. The French established a colony and started to have an impact on the islands and its inhabitants during the course of the following century.

The spread of Christianity was one of the most significant ways that French colonization impacted Polynesian culture. The Roman Catholic Church is very important in the islands, where the bulk of the population is now Christian.

In addition, the French contributed modern technologies and ways of life that continue to influence culture today. For instance, the French brought Western-style healthcare and education to the islands, which has assisted in raising their overall standard of living.

tahitian danceThe Role of Tahitian Dance and Music in Cultural Expression

French Polynesian culture is strongly influenced by Tahitian dance and song, which are essential to cultural expression. Ote’a, or traditional Tahitian dance, is a vivacious and animated performance that incorporates rapid drumming and complex body movements. The dances frequently portray daily life on the islands or relate tales of legendary Polynesian gods and heroes.

The instruments used in Tahitian music, which also uses a range of ukuleles, drums, and traditional wooden flutes, are similarly varied and rich. Western musical styles are frequently included into the music, such as the use of the guitar and saxophone.

The Significance of Tattoos in Polynesian Culture

Tatau, the Polynesian word for tattoos, has a long and illustrious history in French Polynesia. Tattoos were a status symbol in traditional Polynesian society and were solely worn by men. The elaborate patterns frequently represented aspects of deep cultural significance, such as status, accomplishments, and family ancestry.

In French Polynesia today, tattoos are a common means of self-expression for both men and women. Many people opt for patterns that honor their cultural background, like the themes and symbols found in traditional Polynesian art.

The Importance of the Ocean and Marine Life in Daily Life and Culture

The ocean and marine life are fundamental to French Polynesia’s way of life and culture. The water is a significant source of food, transportation, and leisure, and the islands are encircled by some of the most stunning and diverse coral reefs in the world.

The sea was revered and regarded as a source of spiritual strength in traditional Polynesian civilization. The numerous myths and legends that are related to the ocean and marine life reflect this. Many French Polynesians still rely on the sea for their lives, whether through fishing, pearling, or tourism, and the ocean still plays a significant role in their culture. Visitors to the islands are also attracted by the ocean, and popular sports like snorkeling, diving, and surfing are great ways to take in the natural beauty of the islands.

marine lifeThe Preservation and Revitalization of Traditional Polynesian Arts and Crafts

French Polynesia has a long history of producing fine arts and crafts, such as cloth, painting, and sculpture. However, as younger generations distance themselves from them, several of these traditional arts have been in danger of disappearing in recent years.

There have been initiatives to teach and train young people in the ancient techniques in order to preserve and revive these traditional arts. For instance, traditional woodcarving, weaving, and other crafts are taught in schools and workshops. Additionally, a large number of artisans and artists are attempting to produce brand-new, ground-breaking pieces that draw inspiration from traditional Polynesian art while also incorporating modern themes and forms.

In conclusion, traditional Polynesian rituals and beliefs, French colonialism, Tahitian dance and music, tattoos, the water, marine life, and traditional Polynesian arts and crafts are all combined to create French Polynesia culture. The continuation of the culture depends on the old arts being preserved and revived, as well as on educating the next generation about the cultural heritage.

Our Top FAQ's

Ancestor worship is an important aspect of traditional Polynesian culture, and holds that the spirits of deceased loved ones continue to play a role in the lives of the living. Ancestors are believed to be able to influence the lives of the living, and are honored and respected through rituals and ceremonies. This belief system is a way to keep the connection with the past and with the loved ones who passed away and it’s an integral part of traditional Polynesian culture.

French colonization had a significant impact on Polynesian culture in many ways. One of the most significant was the introduction of Christianity, which has greatly influenced the religious beliefs and practices of the people. Additionally, the French introduced new technologies and ways of living, such as Western-style education and healthcare, which have helped to improve the overall standard of living on the islands. The French also introduced new forms of governance, legal and administrative systems, which have shaped the way of life on the islands.

The ocean and marine life play a central role in the daily life and culture of French Polynesia. The islands are surrounded by some of the most beautiful and diverse coral reefs in the world, and the sea is an important source of food, transportation, and recreation. In traditional Polynesian society, the sea was seen as a source of spiritual power and was held in great reverence. This is reflected in the many traditional stories and legends that feature the ocean and marine life. Today, the ocean continues to play an important role in French Polynesian culture, and many people still rely on the sea for their livelihoods.

Efforts to preserve and revitalize traditional Polynesian arts and crafts include educating and training young people in the traditional techniques. For example, there are schools and workshops that teach traditional woodcarving, weaving, and other crafts. Additionally, many artists and craftspeople are working to create new and innovative works that are inspired by traditional Polynesian art, but also incorporate contemporary styles and themes. Furthermore, there are also government initiatives to support and promote traditional art forms, and the use of traditional crafts in tourism. This can help to ensure that these traditional arts continue to be passed down from generation to generation.

Book your dream vacation here