Celebration – Tanna Style!

We were lucky enough during our stay on Tanna to attend a circumcision celebration feast in a nearby village. The young boys (about 8-9 years old) had been recovering, hidden in the nakamal (men’s house) with their male relatives, for 7 days or so. The day of the feast is the day of their return to the village. Its one of the biggest events in a man’s life and hundreds of people come from all over the island, hauling as many gifts as they can carry and everyone parties for days. It was an incredible experience. I felt like an international correspondent with the story of a lifetime.
Like many stories, this one is best told in images..

The female relatives of the boys are dressed, ready, and waiting for the party to start…dressed for dancing

These piles of gifts were ceremonially exchanged… and then shared out to everyone… – taro, kava, pandanus mats, a dead cow, a couple of live pigs, chickens…. etcpiles of gifts

This is a proud day for the father of the young boys…004_8521

All dressed up and ready to party!tinsel kiddies

The men ceremonially leave the nakamal (men’s house) and the festivities begin.the men parade out

HUGE fish!

They contribute the ENORMOUS fish to the gift piles…contributing

There is a prayer…a prayer...

And everybody dances – for hours and hours… dance!

women dancing

Even Elyse dances – the local people thought this was hilarious and were taking photos of Elyse on their mobile phones…Elyse dances...

These young boys were certainly not camera shy!funny dance

Then (unfortunately) we were invited to eat some lap lap. This is like gluggy cardboard… but this one has an extra special treat inside! Some crushed chicken bones with little bits of pink, uncooked chicken meat. I couldn’t possibly IMAGINE a more disgusting way to cook your food. Who INVENTED this stuff, and why do they CONTINUE to eat it???YUK!

I’m sorry if any lap-lap-lovers are reading this, but you can guess what happened to my piece…hello.. friend

Of course, there is LOTS of food. That huge white esky was used to cook a mountain of rice, and there is plenty of lap-lap and fresh beef to go around…food

Everyone who came to the celebration – which is hundreds and hundreds of people – line up to shake hands with the boys and give additional smaller gifts of soap, digicel phone credit, etc.
As a sign of happiness and celebration, everyone gets doused in baby powder. powder is fun

and we keep dancing…

oh yeah!

all day, and all through the night…and dancing...

2 Comments

  1. Nola & Ian Borrie

    This takes me back to our visit to Lamaukaun village on Tanna for the dedication of the North Tanna New Testament which we went to with Joan (translator), Brian & Jolene Finlay in July 2008. They certainly know how to celebrate. We liked the food except for the cooking bananas cooked in the thermal boiling water at the base of the Volcano – its like eating the centre of a corn cob. We would love to follow your adventures. Blessings from Nola Borrie, St. Johns, Diamond Creek.

  2. guest

    awesome

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