Rapa Nui customs and traditions

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Customs and traditions of Rapa Nui

Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, is a place full of mystery and beauty in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This small island, located in Chile, is famous for its impressive moais and its enigmatic culture. In this article, we will explore some of the customs and traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation on Rapa Nui.

The cult of ancestors

One of the main customs in Rapa Nui is the cult of ancestors. The island’s inhabitants believe in a spiritual connection with their ancestors, whom they consider protectors and guides. They believe that the moai, those enormous stone sculptures, are the physical representation of their ancestors and use them as means of communication with the spiritual world.

Tangata Manu’s competition

Another fascinating tradition on Rapa Nui is the competition of Tangata Manu, also known as the Birdman. This event is held annually and consists of a competition where participants must swim to the Motu Nui island, located in front of Rapa Nui, and find the first egg of the manutara bird season. The winner is considered the representative of the god Make-Make and receives important privileges.

The Tapati Rapa Nui festival

The Tapati Rapa Nui festival is an annual event that celebrates the culture and traditions of the island. For two weeks, the inhabitants of Rapa Nui participate in a series of competitions and activities including music, dance, sports and art. This festival is an opportunity to preserve and showcase the rich cultural heritage of the island, as well as foster a sense of community and solidarity among the inhabitants.

The art of tattoo

The tattoo has a deep meaning in the culture of Rapa Nui. The island’s inhabitants have practiced this art form for centuries, using traditional designs depicting spiritual symbols and genealogies. The tattoo is considered a form of communication with the ancestors and an expression of the cultural identity of Rapa Nui.

Traditional food

The traditional food of Rapa Nui reflects the history and connection with nature of the island. One of the best-known dishes is curanto, a type of cooking in an underground pit where different meats, seafood and vegetables are mixed. The preparation of curanto is a community ceremony and is considered a way to celebrate and share the culture of Rapa Nui.

In short, Rapa Nui is much more than its famous moai. Its customs and traditions are a living testimony of the rich and fascinating culture of this Polynesian island. Ancestor worship, the Tangata Manu competition, the Tapati Rapa Nui festival, tattoo art and traditional food are just a few examples of the diversity and depth of Rapa Nui traditions. If you have the opportunity to visit this magical island, you will be surprised by the cultural wealth that you will find in every corner.