After enjoying a very relaxed day on Saturday, my Sunday morning started again very early. (Not sure, if I can ever get used to that.) It was the day of the installation of the new Archbishop of Melanesia, The Most Reverend Leonard Dawea. When I received the invitation for the event, I had no idea what to expect. But one thing is for sure: my imaginations were not even close.
The event lasted the whole day. It started with a church service and the official enthronement of the Archbishop in the morning, followed by the presentation of the gifts to the new Archbishop and a dinner at the bishop’s house in the evening. Although I have never been to an installation of an Archbishop in Europe, I assume that it would be very different. The church service was a very interesting mixture of old church traditions and tribal influences. For example, all the diocesan bishops in their robes swore traditional oaths of loyalty to the new Archbishop, while minutes later tribal custom dances were performed around them by half-naked men. Traditional church hymnes were sang, but rhythms and harmonies were clearly influenced by tribal customs. Gifts to the Archbishop included crosses, bibles and flags as well as wooden canoes, shell money and traditional kitchen gear.
The event was a lot bigger than I imagined. Thousands of people, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the House of Parliamemt,the Governor General were present, as well as several High Commissioners were present. I got to shake the hands of a lot of important people that day (and stood up for protocol quite a bit).
Overall, it was a lovely day, with very interesting insights into Solomon culture, but maybe a few too many speeches.