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Mary, the Devil, and TaroCatholicism and Women's Work in a Micronesian Society$
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Juliana Flinn

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833749

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833749.001.0001

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(p.66) Chapter 4 Taro
Mary, the Devil, and Taro

Juliana Flinn

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter analyzes the various types of taro central to Pollap life, gardening practices associated with these major types, and symbolic uses associated with offerings of taro made in various cultural contexts. Culturally, true taro (Colocasia) is preferred on Pollap, and this is the taro used for any special offerings. A cultural value placed on true taro seems to extend beyond Pollap. On Ifaluk, for example, true taro is one of the foods of the ancestral spirits (along with flowers) and something valued by both people and spirits. December 8 is the major church holiday for which true taro offerings are made, but a secondary occasion is June 26, the anniversary of the ordination of a priest from Pollap and dedication of the new church after it was renovated and enlarged. Women also believe that true taro offerings help place them in a favorable position in Mary's eyes.

Keywords:   Pollap, staple foods, taro cultivation, gardening, Pollapese women, Mary, true taro, Colocasia

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