Festivals: Tapati Rapa Nui

Tapati Rapa Nui

 

Tapati Rapa Nui is a festival held the first 10 days of February on Easter Island.  Found in the South Pacific ocean the small volcanic island is known by the natives as Rapa Nui.

The island is a Chilean territory famous for the nearly 900 statues called “moai”.

 

Festivals: Tapati Rapa Nui

 

These statues were created by the people living on the island between the 13th-16th century.

 

Festivals: Tapati Rapa Nui

 

The Tapati festival got its start in the 1970’s.  It was a way of maintaining and promoting the Rapa Nui culture among the islanders.  At first, the festival was a little-known event for the islanders but in the last ten years the event has become a tourist hot spot, as a result, February is now the high season for the island.

 

Festivals: Tapati Rapa Nui

 

The festival is a celebration for the election of the queen of Tapati for that year.  There are two female candidates that compete to be the Queen.  People split into two groups, each one to support one of the female candidates.  Then the groups face off in a series of competitions that consist of dancing, singing, sculpture, body painting, fishing, swimming, canoeing, horse racing, and an island triathlon.

 

Festivals: Tapati Rapa Nui

 

One event not to miss is Haka Pei.  Competitors wearing nothing more than a loincloth riding feet-first on a banana tree trunk down a hill reaching speeds of 50 mph (80km).

 

Festivals: Tapati Rapa Nui

 

Each event gets points.  The group with the most points will see their female candidate get the crown and be Queen for that year.

Tourists can even participate in two of the competitions, dance on stage and the parade.  The dancing requires that you have a month of practice so you’ll have to come in January if you want to do that one while the parade anyone should be able to do.

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