Defining Australia: Australian Aboriginal Culture
By Wiputri Setiawan 2017
As we know there are many countries with many kind of cultures inside them. Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people involve religion, social habits, music, arts and the others. Australia is one of the examples, it has always been considered a multicultural country which consists almost entirely of immigrants. One of the interesting culture in Australia is the Australian Aboriginal people, one of the two distinct Indigenous peoples of Australia beside the Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Australian Aboriginal culture can be the oldest continuous living culture on the planet which is it makes us more interested to know about them. First of all, an interesting thing about aboriginal culture is that Aboriginal belief systems are centered their practices and ceremonies on a belief in the Dreamtime. It is said that the dreaming is considered to be both the ancient time of creation and the reality of dreaming. For example, the Rainbow Serpent is a major ancestral being for many aboriginal people across Australia. Therefore, aboriginal people also perceived death as a transition to another life that is not completely different from the one they have left when they died.
If we talk about the Aboriginal art, we know that it includes work made in many different way including painting on leaves, wood craving, rock carving, sculpting, ceremonial clothing, dot painting, bark painting and sand painting. Aboriginal art seems closely linked to religious ceremonies or rituals. Symbols are used in aboriginal art, to show different things. Interestingly, Aboriginal artists continue these traditions using both modern and traditional materials in their artworks.
There is another interesting thing about the Aboriginal people, they use a popular weapon for hunting called a boomerang. Except the boomerang, there are also another weapons such as spears, message sticks, canoes which provided an easy means of travelling through the lagoon, and the others. But, the one which draw my attention is the boomerang. How a flat thing like that can be use for hunting? When I think about the Aboriginal people use boomerangs for hunting, suddenly, that kind of question appears in my mind.
The fact is Aboriginal creation myths recount how the Ancestors formed the landscape of Australia. For Aboriginal people, the boomerang is a symbol of cultural endurance and a tangible link to their long presence on this continent. Amazingly, with more than 250 different language groups it is understandable that boomerang making varies across the continent. Larger, heavier boomerangs are used by inland and desert people, and lighter boomerangs are thrown by coastal and high country people. The vast majority of boomerangs are of the non returning variety.
Unexpectedly, boomerangs have many uses. They are weapons for hunting birds and other animals such as kangaroo and other marsupials. The hunter can throw the boomerang directly at the animal or make it bounce back off the ground. Surprisingly, in skilled hands, the boomerang is effective for hunting prey up to 100 metres away. Boomerangs can be used as a digging stick when foraging for root vegetables. They can also be used to make fire. Finally, boomerangs feature prominently in Aboriginal dance and music, as a percussion instrument when a pair are rattled together, and as an accessory to ceremonial dance.
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