Alele Basket

The Alele Basket is a Marshallese traditional basket, a soft-sided plaited bag made from the leaves of the pandanas tree. This treasured item contains a family’s most valuable possessions and according to Marshallese custom is passed through generations in the trust of the family’s eldest female. The Alele Museum, Library and Archives were named after this basket.

The phrase “Lutok Kobban Alele” means pour out the valuable contents of the basket. The event of the same name is a weeklong festival that honors the basket as a national symbol and celebrates Marshallese culture in general. The inaugural festival was held in 1986, the year that the Marshall Islands ended a long era under U.S. administration. In years past, the festival has been sponsored by the Marshall Islands Alele Museum. Festivities conclude with an official ceremony on Manit Day, a public holiday observed on the last Friday of September. Activities take place in the capital city of Marjuro and include performances by Marshallese singers and dancers, feasts promoting local foods, traditional storytelling, and demonstrations of basket weaving and cooking.

Source: Alele Museum, Majuro, MH & Free Dictionary website

 

Alele baskets (Source Alele Museum, Majuro, MH)