The world's original " Bungee Jump".
If you come over to Vanuatu in April and May, you can have the opportunity to visit Pentecost and witness the amazing land dive that is part of the "Nagol Ceremony".
The origin of land diving is described in a legend of a woman who was dissatisfied with her husband, Tamalie (or some variation of the name) so she ran away into the forest. Her husband followed her, and so she climbed up a banyan tree. Tamalie climbed after her, and so she tied lianas to her ankles and jumped off the tree and survived. Her husband jumped after her, but did not tie lianas to himself, which caused him to plummet and die. The men performed the original land diving so that they would not be tricked again!
Why the Land-Dive is Important
Great story .. however, the land diving ritual is associated with the annual yam harvest. It is performed each year on a Saturday, during the months of April, May, or June. It is thought that a good dive helps ensure a bountiful yam harvest.
The villagers believe land diving can enhance the health and strength of the divers. A successful dive can remove the illnesses and physical problems associated with the wet season. Furthermore, land diving is considered as an expression of masculinity, as it demonstrates boldness that was associated with the bwahri or warrior. Nevertheless, the men who do not choose to dive or back out of diving are not humiliated as cowards.
The ritual begins with the least experienced jumpers on the lower platforms and ends with the most experienced jumpers on the upper platforms. The ideal jump is high with the jumper landing close to the ground. The goal is to brush the shoulders against the ground. The higher the jump, the more bountiful the harvest. Before diving, the jumper can give speeches, sing songs, and act out stories.
The diver crosses his arms over his chest to help prevent injury to the arms. The head is tucked in so his shoulders can contact the ground: as you can imagine, land-divers risk a number of injuries, such as a broken neck or a concussion. During the dive, the jumper can reach speeds of around 72 km/h. Right after a dive, other villagers rush in and take care of the diver.
But these days the ritual extends far beyond yams—it underlies the foundation of tribal society in Pentecost. When a boy is ready for manhood, he proves his courage by jumping off the tower in view of his elders. Watching from the ground, the boy's mother holds a favorite item from his childhood. After his first jump, the item is thrown away, signifying he is no longer a child.
Of course the islanders of Pentecost dive for many reasons. Some jump for the sheer joy of it; others jump to prove they're committed to their ancient traditions; perhaps even to impress a young girl they are courting.
Travel 01 - 30 April 2017. The Nagol occurs every Saturday in April, May & early June.
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