LOL!! The Best Way To Say 'I LOVE YOU' In Fiji Is To Give Your Woman A Sperm Whale Tooth, See Why! • illuminaija
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    LOL!! The Best Way To Say ‘I LOVE YOU’ In Fiji Is To Give Your Woman A Sperm Whale Tooth, See Why!

    LOL!! The Best Way To Say ‘I LOVE YOU’ In Fiji Is To Give Your Woman A Sperm Whale Tooth, See Why!

    In Fijian culture, tabua (teeth) are traditionally collected from the lower jaws of beached whales, and since whale beachings are a relatively rare occurrence, they highly prize the teeth. 

    LOL!! The Best Way To Say ‘I LOVE YOU’ In Fiji Is To Give Your Woman A Sperm Whale Tooth, See Why!

    A tabua is a polished tooth of a sperm whale that is an important cultural item in Fijian society. They were traditionally given as gifts for atonement or esteem (called sevusevu), and were important in negotiations between rival chiefs. They would bury the dead men with their tabua, along with war clubs and even their strangled wives, to help them in the afterlife. 

    LOL!! The Best Way To Say ‘I LOVE YOU’ In Fiji Is To Give Your Woman A Sperm Whale Tooth, See Why!

    Originally they were very rare items, available only from beached whales and from trade from neighboring Tonga (where the practice may have originated), but when the market became known in the early 19th century thousands of teeth and fake teeth made from ivory and walrus tusks entered the market. 


    This trade led to the development of the European art of scrimshaw. Today the tabua remains an important item in Fijian life. They are not sold but traded regularly as gifts at weddings, birthdays, and funerals. The tabua is also increasingly used in advertising as a trusted symbol or brand, for example, Fiji Airways has a Tabua Club (frequent flyer) and a Tabua Class for business class. They also feature on the Fijian 20 cent piece. 

    LOL!! The Best Way To Say ‘I LOVE YOU’ In Fiji Is To Give Your Woman A Sperm Whale Tooth, See Why!

    The removal of tabua from Fiji is highly restricted, at 225 exports per year, and permits from the Ministry of Fijian Affairs, the Fijian Department of Environment, and CITES are required, as they are regulated both as an endangered species and a cultural item. They can easily command prices above $500. 

    With few countries still harvesting whales and laws limiting the international trade of endangered species like the sperm whale and their specimens, the number of tabuas circulating in Fiji is dwindling, causing prices to rise. A single tooth strung with a braided cord as an oversize pendant on a necklace can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. 

    Tabuas “ communicate that the holder or presenter highly esteems the sanctity of the agreement, promise, etc.,” Simione Sevudredre, from the department in Fiji’s government that oversees indigenous affairs, wrote in an email. During the days of warring tribes, before Fiji became a British colony in the late 1800s if a chief wanted someone killed and could not do it himself, he offered a tabua to another tribe to take care of the matter. This was the case for an unfortunate 19th-century British missionary, the Rev. Thomas Baker.

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