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"Kava has been used in The Pacific Islands for 3,000 years"

Discussion in 'In-Depth Kava Discussion' started by FijiFreshKava, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. FijiFreshKava

    FijiFreshKava Kava Vendor

    At first I thought this might suggest a connection between cannibalism and kava, but after reading about the various origin myths wherein kava was discovered growing out of the body of a dead person, I think it's more of an homage to the myth: drink kava from a human body, because that's how it was first discovered.

    The following passage is from The Abandoned Narcotic: Kava and Cultural Instability in Melanesia
    By Ron Brunton (p.68)
    Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 10.21.25 PM.png
    Intrepidus_dux and ProjectK like this.
  2. verticity

    verticity I'm interested in things

    It could have been both...??
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  3. Zaphod

    Zaphod Kava Enthusiast

    Well to be fair, after the amount of Squanch I consumed last night, if I had happened to pass away and some archaeologist dug up my skull a few hundred years later they would still find KLs floating around....
    On the other hand drinking kava out of skull is pretty bad ass. Can you imagine looking over at some other pansy tribe drinking out of coconut shells while your chugging your grog through some dudes deceased head.
  4. FijiFreshKava

    FijiFreshKava Kava Vendor

    “So, how’s your Kava, Mr. Cannibal?”

  5. recentreturn

    recentreturn Kava Enthusiast

    Thanks for this thread and all the papers! Fascinating!
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  6. Alia

    Alia Kava Enthusiast

    Tracking down the origin of the word- Kava- itself is troubling. So far it looks as though standard that- "Origin- late 18th century, from Tongan".
    Within this word definition always seems to be "Polynesian shrub" yet Vanuatu and New Guinea are in Melanesia.
    So if "kava" is pre-18th Century, what was it called and why ever would it be said to be from Polynesia?
    Albeit, certain cultivars are.
  7. recentreturn

    recentreturn Kava Enthusiast

    Is that from an English dictionary? It sounds like they could just be saying it became an English word in the late 18th century from Tongan; and by the 18th century, the plant was certainly growing in Polynesia; that would, in some sense, make it a "Polynesian shrub" as well as a Melanesian shrub.
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  8. Alia

    Alia Kava Enthusiast

    Yes--good point- , it is from New Oxford Dictionary. But, it is an interesting topic of my opinion. The on-line Merriam-Webster has it as--
    1: an Australasian shrubby pepper (Piper methysticum) from whose crushed root an intoxicating beverage is madealso : the beverage made from kava
    It would be educational for others to check souces and post what they find.
  9. verticity

    verticity I'm interested in things

    The etymology of the word 'kava' came up here before-- since many Polynesian languages have similar-sounding words: kava, ava, awa, etc., meaning the same thing, it's believed the word came from Proto-Polynesian, which is an important component of the argument that kava must have been known a couple thousand years ago when Proto-Polynesian was spoken.. this was from a thread about the use of "kava kava"..
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  10. Alia

    Alia Kava Enthusiast

    I sure missed that 2017 thread but found the reference you quoted from the book-- thank you for bringing this full circle.
  11. Intrepidus_dux

    Intrepidus_dux Kava Enthusiast

    Vaginas are so magical that they can grow kava! Can you imagine such a thing? I wonder if that reference is due to women being creators of tiny humans.
  12. kastom_lif

    kastom_lif Kava Enthusiast

    Eating people from your own family/clan/culturegroup was very uncommon in Melanesia. The homeland of kava mainly practiced exo-cannibalism, eating outsiders only.

    Yet at the same time, keeping bone relics of family members was common. On Erromango, the bones of loved ones were sometimes worn as jewelry... but they weren't eaten.

    Aside from the occassional Scotsman, Erromango mainly got their edible humans from Tanna, and Tanna got theirs mainly from Erromango. Having the neighbours for dinner is always a special occasion.
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  13. klimbo

    klimbo New Member

    Is that from an English word reference? It sounds like they could simply be stating it turned into an English word in the late eighteenth century from Tongan; and by the eighteenth century, the plant was unquestionably developing in Polynesia; that would, in some sense, make it a "Polynesian bush" just as a Melanesian bush.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019 at 1:51 AM
  14. Alia

    Alia Kava Enthusiast

    A few posts above is one from @verticity which has a very thorough explanation.
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