Table of Contents
'Epa, Apei, and Päega: Ceremonial Mats
Death and Funerals
Lolo: Anointing Oil
Lolo (oil) for anointing the head and rubbing the body is mixed with sweet-smelling flowers. The method for making it is as follows:
After about 20 sprouting coconuts are grated into a bowl, the cream is squeezed out using shredded coconut fibres from the husk. The cream is then strained into another bowl containing petals of roses, fragrant brown flowers (such as ragkari [Aglaia sp], moskoi [Cananga odorata], honey-suckle, or gardenia) and mixed with a wooden spoon or spatula. The bowl is set out into the sun and the mixture is stirred now and then. The bowl should be covered with a leaf from an 'apea plant and brought into the house when it rains, and at night. This process continues for two more days until the cream changes to oil. People avoid touching it with their fingers because that spoils the smell. The first batch of oil, called potea, is poured into pirorogo (old-style gourd bottles) for use at functions, such as mamiag forau (anointing travellers; see Mamasa), or mamiag hafu (anointing headstone; see Höt'ak Hafu).
After another 20 sprouting coconuts are grated, the cream is squeezed out and strained, then added to the first bowl along with fresh flowers. It is placed back in the sun for several more days and stirred now and then. The last part of the oil is for daily use by the family to rub on the skin or for massage, or when mixed with turmeric, to smear on the skin, to tint the cheeks when dancing, for brides and mothers in childbirth, and to apply on cuts and skin diseases.
Today the oil is poured into clean, empty bottles and corked tightly with stoppers made from coconut husks or soft wood. Empty bottles for perfume, tomato sauce, and lemonade are commonly used as containers.
Lolo for cooking is clear oil without added flowers or herbs. Lol kapui (used for scabies or itchiness) is lolo to which ginger leaves have been added.