The Rich Culture of the Enticingly Magical Australian Aboriginals
Jun 18, 2019
This will attempt to give you a glimpse of Australian Aboriginal culture and what all it covers. Have a read and explore this wonderful culture.
The Australian Aboriginals, though form hardly about 6% of the current population, are probably the oldest indigenous living culture in the world.
Dating to what can be more than 60,000 years ago, these people have managed to not only embrace the stringent living conditions in Australia, but have been very successful in preserving the same way of life even today. Find out more about these tremendous people and their culture here.
Australian Aborigines have a firm belief in the connection and association that their Ancestors have with 'the land'. It is their belief that nature and everything associated with it has been created by their Ancestors when they emerged from within the earth and took the various forms of life like the plants and animals that we see today.
This is why, in Australian Aboriginal culture, environment and nature hold a very special place. They call the time when the creation of the world took place the 'Dreamtime'. The period that is the life of any living thing is considered as 'Dreaming'. Land forms the base of all the faith and belief systems that the Aboriginal people hold.
It is a part of their spirituality and their daily life. It is this closeness with 'the land' and a thorough knowledge of it that makes them so adept at living the lives that they lead, in perfect harmony with man and animal, even in the harsh Australian conditions.
Rituals form an important part of Australian Aboriginal culture, just like any other culture that has been present since ages. The important rituals that take place in a typical Aboriginal tribe are as follows:
★ A ritual called 'Bora' is conducted to initiate young boys into adulthood. After being deemed an adult male, the boy is allowed to attend Bora-rings, which are meetings meant to be attended only by initiated males.
★ Women who wish to have a baby are made to rub a specific rock with a painting of fertility rings on it.
★ There are also meetings for young girls who are made aware of womanhood and what their responsibilities as women of the tribe entail.
★ A Smoking Ceremony is also held to cleanse the area around and also to deflect any evil spirits that may be hovering in the vicinity.
★ The Aboriginal people carry out the systematic burning of vegetation, not only to facilitate better conditions for hunting, but also to make way for new fresh vegetation for the native kangaroos. It also helps to reduce the instances of potential bush fires.
★ If you've watched the movie Australia, you'll have some idea of what the term 'walkabout' means. In Aboriginal culture, it is a term that denotes a rite of passage that every young boy in the tribe must go through. It is exactly what the name suggests, walking about and learning to adapt and adjust to the various conditions in the wilderness.
★ A meeting where all the members of the Aboriginal tribe meet is called a 'corroboree'.
Like any other culture, entertainment plays an important aspect even in Australian Aboriginal culture. They indulge in song and dance as a part of ceremonial functions and have their own indigenous style of doing it.
Large corroborees happen during the trade period of the tribes and is like a big party with a lot of food, music, song and dance.
The songs of the Aboriginals are mostly all related to nature, Dreamtime and Dreaming. The unique feature about these songs is that all of them are formed and sung in a story telling fashion.
Hence, it is considered very important to be well versed in song and dance for an Aboriginal. It means that he has the knowledge about the Dreamtime and the Ancestors. All this valuable wisdom is passed down from generation to generation.
The dancers are painted in ocher and are assisted by hand claps, clapsticks, digeridoos (a musical instrument made with bamboo that emits a resonating thrum), and the singers to put on an entertaining show for their audience, which is generally exceptionally large in numbers.
Another aspect that simply cannot be ignored is their art. Aboriginal art includes rock art at its best. The use of sculpture and paints on walls is widely prevalent. They make use of the rock art to carry out the much important function of education within the tribe.
The art shows images of plants, animals and also humans. These images, like the songs that they write, are mostly in story form and help the children be educated about various imperative things like law, order, discipline, way of life, rites, etc.
It also helps them to understand better the concepts of Dreamtime and Dreaming. They also indulge in beadwork, and bark painting, but rock art was always their main focus.
Australian Aboriginal culture has many more facets that may not have been included here. After withstanding British colonization and fighting evils like racism in their own motherland, Aboriginals have come a long way today. They preserve their culture in their own ways, and are more readily accepting the open ways of others.