Australian Aboriginal Culture - Culture Essay Example
Aboriginals or indigenous Australians are the native people of Australia - Australian Aboriginal Culture introduction. Aboriginals were nomadic people who came to Australia about 40,000 – 60,000 years ago from Southeast Asia. Religion is a great part of Aboriginal culture. The essay answers these questions: What do Aboriginals belief? What is a Kinship system? What is Dreaming and Dreamtime? What rituals does Aboriginals have? Religion The Aborigines have a complex belief in creation, spirits and culture that gives a definite distinctiveness from any other religion in the world.
Thousands of years ago, Australian Aboriginal people were living in accordance with their dreamtime beliefs- today, a majority of the Aboriginal community profess allegiance to Christianity, and only 3% still adhere to traditional beliefs. These beliefs have provided the Aboriginal people with guidance and perspective on all aspects of life. There were many variants to these beliefs and practises throughout the many Aboriginal tribal areas, but all Aboriginal people have developed an intimate relationship between themselves and their environment.
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They see themselves as spiritually bound to the natural world. The Dreamtime The Dreamtime specifically refers to the period of time when the creators made the territory of a tribe and all it contained. It was a period when patterns of living were established and laws were laid down for human beings to follow. The Dreamtime is linked with many aspects of Aboriginal practise, including rituals, storytelling and Aboriginal lore. Artwork Traditional Aboriginal art was inspired by religious ceremonies or rituals. Modern Aboriginal art is a vital part of the world’s oldest continuous cultural tradition.
It is also one of the most brilliant and exciting areas of modern art. It is based on animals or patterns. All the designs, painted or drawn, have a story behind them. Many of the Dreamtime stories are told using artwork because there were so many different aboriginal languages in every region that the people couldn’t understand people from the other tribes. Language Groups There are about 150 existing language groups this day, the number of the groups has been decreasing rapidly after the Europeans came to Australia.
In Aboriginal culture the language isn’t only a form of communication, it is used to mark territory. It is possible that people from tribe only fifty kilometres away cannot understand the other tribes language at all. Aboriginal Language groups (http://www. ewb. org. au/images/uploads/2010challenge/Language%20Map. jpg) Elders Certain senior male members of traditional language groups may become Elders. Elders are initiated men who are selected to be ritual leaders upon the basis of their personal qualities such as bravery and compassion and their knowledge of the Law.
Elders provide leadership in matters affecting the group, including dispute resolution, educating the young and advising on marriage partners. In traditional Aboriginal society the advice of the Elders is usually unquestioned. Elders assume responsibility for sacred objects, spiritual matters and the performance of ritual. The Elders are vested with custodianship of the Law. Their duty is to honour and maintain the Law, and pass it down to the next generation. Elder(http://www. digital-photo. com. au/gallery/d/4113-1/Aboriginal-Elder-Cedric-Playing-Sticks-IMG_4397. jpg)
Kinship System. In traditional Aboriginal society inter-personal relationships are governed by a Complex system of rules, known as the classificatory system of kinship. The kinship system is based upon an expanded concept of family, and a concomitant extension of family rights and obligations. The kinship system enables each person in a language group to ascertain precisely where he or she stands in relation to every other person in that group and to Persons outside that group. By providing a mental map of social relationships, each person knows precisely how to behave in relation to every other person.
Adulthood. When children approach puberty they are required to undergo ritual initiation processes. When a girl reaches her puberty she will be initiated into womanhood, which means she has to start doing the same things than the other women in the camp. She can become a food gatherer, sexual partner or she can start taking care of the young children or the elders. When a girl reaches her womanhood she will go through ritual acts what are body-painting, ornamentation and body-cleansing. When boy approaches puberty he is physically removed from his family to life for an extended period away from the group.
The people in the group are forbidden to say the boys name during this period of time. The boy is taught the rights and duties of a adult male. The boy will also learn the secrets of the sacred laws. Before becoming man, the boy’s worthiness and courage will be tested. These tests include piercing the body or circumcision and sleep deprivation. After these rituals the person can get married. Marriage In traditional Aboriginal society marriages are very important. Marriage can be decided when the bride is very young or sometimes even unborn. Usually man is in his thirties when he gets married.
Women can be many years younger than the man, but may have been married before and widowed because the earlier husband has died. Death and after life The aboriginal people took a great amount of care to ensure that a deceased spirit could find its’ way to the sky or a ‘spirit-place’, by sitting by the person’s grave and mourning. After death, the relatives took a number of precautions against the deceased person’s spirit returning to their camp. This involved them in taking a zigzag course to the burial ground to trick the deceased spirit about the direction back to their camp.
After a death, some tribes beat their bodies with sticks or clubs, or cut themselves with shells or stone knives to cause bleeding. In these instances, the period of sorrow or mourning was considered to be at an end when their wounds were healed. After the mourning period was completed, it was disrespectful to say the dead person’s name in some time, the time depended how the person had died. The people also believed that a person’s spirit could visit living people to harm or warn them of danger. This usually resulted in an inquiry about the death of a person who was considered to have died too early or in unusual way.