Historically Long Mat To Serve As “Red Carpet” For Pacific Leaders

(Majuro, case Marshall Islands) – More than 500 feet of woven coconut leaves is set to flow from the beach at Delap Park in Majuro to the entrance of the Marshall Islands government building as the island’s form of “red carpet” for the official arrival of the Pacific Islands Forum leaders.

Thirteen women from several outer islands have worked tirelessly since Sunday evening to weave this mat.
Organizing the women to make this natural “red carpet” possible, Miram de Brum, of the Women United Together In The Marshall Islands (WUTMI) says she has never seen a traditional mat of this length done before.
These mats, which are normally woven in short lengths, are traditionally used for sitting, but the women wanted to contribute to the Forum by making a special mat for the leaders.
The long-woven mat is not only the “never-been-seen-before” cultural presentation that the Marshall Islands have prepared for the Forum.
The leaders will arrive in traditional canoes build especially for the Forum.
Three different traditional canoes, which include the walaap, the largest canoe known to the Marshall Islands, will be carrying the leaders from the lagoon to the Delap Park.
The leaders will be paired in the canoes for their arrival with the exception of Marshall Islands President and Samoa’s Prime Minister.
Federated States of Micronesia President Manny Mori is paired with the Cook Islands Prime Minister while Palau President Tommy Remengesau Junior is paired with the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.
Showing the same excitement as their foreign guests, locals are eager to witness the canoes firsthand.
A traditional welcome known as jobwa, which is normally performed at the request of a chief, will be performed at the opening ceremony, an event that promises to showcase Marshall Islands’ arts and culture.
A traditional blessing or chasing of the spirit will also be performed at the opening to bless the meeting.
The opening ceremony on Tuesday will begin in the late afternoon, with the arrival of the leaders, traditional welcome, entertainment and end with a large feast.

More than 500 feet of traditional woven mat for Pacific leaders

Outer island women working on traditional mat

Weaving of traditional Marshall Islands mat

Miram de Brum, WUTMI