Yap State, Isle of Stone Money

Hi and welcome to my web page. Do you know where Yap State is? Do you know where Micronesia is? Can you locate it on the World Map? How big is Yap or Micronesia? Well, Yap is in the country of the Federated States of Micronesia (F.S.M.). Micronesia is one of the Islands Groups that made up the Pacific Islands. The other two are Melanesia and Polynesia. Yap State is on the World Map which is like a small dot made by a pencil, a little below the Equator and to the East of Australia.

Yap is one of the Four States of the Federated States of Micronesia, the F.S.M. It still has most of its customs and traditions. The people are friendly. The language is complicated to learn and there is no language in the world that is pretty similar to it in terms of dialect and pronunciation. Most Yapese can speak any other language pretty well just like thier own native language. This is because they can pronounce any letter or word just like the way it should be pronounced.

Where is Yap?

The Exotic Island of Yap is located between Guam and Palau. It is about 720km South West of Guam and about 580km North East of Palau. The main island of Yap State is about 50 square miles which is known as " Yap Proper ". To locate it on a World Map, it is about 10 degrees North and 148 degrees East. It has about 134 islands and atolls. Only 22 of them are populated by an estimate of 8,000 people.

How old is Yap?

Do you know how old is Yap State? There are no written record of it, only oral records like legends and myths which 95% of them are true. Yap State is as old as the time of Noah and his Ark during the " Forty Days and Forty Nights ". There is a story about a man that took place during the time of Noah. There are evidences that were found at a known burial site of this guy in Tomil. The bigger bone from his thigh is about " three feet long ". During this time that the story took place, Yap State was populated by alot of people. People are everywhere. The population was about three times more than the population nowadays. Yap State is one of the oldest of the Four States of Micronesia. This guy survived by the help of a lady that she could turn herself into a rat and that is how the Rat Clan formed. According to the legend, this time is the time that people have the power or magic that could turn them into anything they want to or do what they want. They ca! n do magic on one end of the island and kill a person on the other end of the island. They can also do magic to bring rain, famine, typhoon, curse, and many other types of magics.

Stone Money...

The " largest and heaviest money " in the world is found in Yap State. The Stone Moneys have different values. Before a group of people sail to Palau to make the Stone Money, they have to prepare for the trip months before departure. They have to carry enough food for the trip to Palau and back, have enough and proper tools, and make sure their rafts and out-rigger canoes are ready to be sailed. The Stone Money were made in Palau and transported to Yap State by canoes.

A small Stone Money can have a higher value over a bigger one depending on how hard it takes to build, and transported to Yap State. If a storm hits the canoes and the rafts that carried the stone money between Yap and Palau, and nothing or nobody got lost or some were retrieved during the storm, then all of the stone money might have a higher value than those transported without any complications like a storm or death. The stone money that has the highest value is called the ray ni ngochol. There are a few of this kind of stone money. That means the stone money has a name and some land that goes along with it.

Traditional Attire...

The Yapese boys wear a one piece of red or blue clothing called " thuw or thuu ". When they reach about 13 years of age (puberty), they started to wear a two (red and blue) or a three (red, blue, and white) pieces of thuws. When they are about 18 - 20 years old, that is when they wear the lion cloth " bagiy ". They start to wear " kafar " when they are about 30 years old until they die. It is made up of a piece of thuw (red or blue), a lava lava, and hibuscus fibers. First, they wrap the thuw around them with a tight knot on their back, then position the hibuscus fibers to where they want it to be, and wrap the lava lava on the hibuscus fibers to hold it down and prevent the fibers from falling down.

Men usually tie their hair on top of their head because they are not ladies and ladies tie their head on the side of their head. They tie it into a tight knot to a size of a tennis ball or smaller so when they go to war, it will not bother them.

When a girl is young, she wears a grass skirt " oeng " made of ferns, banana leaves, and some other kind of grasses. She wears it for about a week or two and then she goes into the forest and gather some ferns and grasses to make herself a grass skirt. Mothers usually teach their daughters how to make grass skirts so they can make their own. The older she gets, the more ferns and grasses she use so she can make the grass skirt a bit bigger to fit her waist. She gets to wear grass skirts all her life.

A lady is young she ties her hair on the side of her head, not on top of her head. If her father, sister, or mother sees that she tied her hair on top of her head they can scold her because only men tie their hair on top of their head. When a young lady is not married, she ties her hair on the left side of her head and married women ties their hair on the right. Only married women chews because their husbands provide the chew for them.

When a girl reaches puberty age (rugod), she is required to wear a black string " marfaw' " around her neck which literally means she has reached her womanhood. She is also forbidden to go to certain places or talk to certain people at some point during her lifetime. When she is having her period, she is put in a small hut with a maid (yarif) to help her with anything she needs like food, showering, or other things. The hut she is staying in is in a seperate place in the village a bit far from where the villagers are staying because she is considered dirty. When the period is over, then she can come the the village and stay with her family.

Written by: Petrus Ken