Student Services and Support Program Celebrates the Cultures of Micronesia

Kosraen fahfah demonstration

Soft taro is baked in an um (ground oven) and then pounded hot to produce fahfah.

fahfah pounding

The woman next to the fahfah pounder is there to wipe sweat from the pounder's face during the process. During the pounding, the pounder cannot touch their own body and sweat should not fall into the fahfah. The banana leaf on the lap of the pounder is also there to keep the pounder clean.


Only men pound fahfah. Traditionally the man should be of good moral character. The type of work a man does also bears on whether he can pound fahfah. The fahfah is handled extensively during the process, thus the perceived cleanliness of the jobs the person does as an occupation is also considered. During the presentation the example was given that being a plumber would not be considered a good occupation for a fahfah pounder.


The pounding stone (tok) is carved out of basalt, the wood board is often made from the breadfruit tree.

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For the festival the fahfah was put onto individual plates, for a Kosraen gathering the fahfah would be put onto a tray.

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Making a small mat

Two palm fronds are split lengthwise and then the four half fronds are woven together.

palm frond mat

The four halves can be seen in the image below.

palm frond mat

Starting from the base of the frond, the main surface is woven. For this mat, roughly seven or eight frondlet pairs were being woven. That is, the weaver lifts eight frondlets and leaves eight down to slide in the next folded frondlet.

palm frond mat

The Kosraens call this type of mat a tinahe (sounds like the English word "deny"). The word is said to not be of Kosraen origin by one source. A member of the SSSP staff noted that he also used that word in his language for this type of mat.

palm frond mat

Gathering the frondlets.

palm frond mat

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At the far end some frondlets are folded back to produce a squared end.

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Then the edge is braided from the base to the end.

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The other side was braided the other direction.

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Tying off the end braid.

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A small basket

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Weaving flowers

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Ixora casei and Clerodendrum inerme flowers.

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Mwoakillese mahr (fermented breadfruit). On the left is a traditional preparation, uhmw baked in a leaf. On the right is mahr that has had sugar added and was baked in a metal pan.

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