Wedding exchange (penupenu)

There are usually a series of exchanges (penupenu) accompanying a marriage. The grooms father’s relatives gather wealth (usually cloth and money) to give to the bride’s father’s relatives; the bride’s father’s relatives then bring back food. In another exchange the groom’s mother’s relatives bring wealth (cloth and money) to the bride’s mother’s relatives and the bride’s mother’s relatives return food. There are complicated exchanges occuring in which people who contribute to one side of the exchange expect to get something back from the return exchange (for example if I give some food to the groom’s father’s wealth, I might expect to get back some of the food brought by the bride’s relatives). There are longer term expectations: if I give to the groom’s family, I might expect them to contribute to my collection when my son gets married.

The groom’s father’s side makes a presentation bringing their wealth as a group to the receiving side, then there are dances to a drum. The receiving side, in this case the bride’s father’s side, then makes their presentation back to the groom’s father’s side, followed by dancing. The bride’s and groom’s mother’s sides then follow. Often people drink alcohol following each presentation. The following slides show presentations that were made both on Sikaiana and at Tenaru, outside of Honiara.

See a pdf of a PowerPoint about Sikaiana marriages.

See pictures of a Sikaiana wedding

See pictures of a Honiara wedding