When, where, what and how. All you have to know about one of the most important parties in all of Polynesia.
Every year, on February, the inhabitants of the most remote island of the planet celebrate their traditional culture with a huge festival of colors, music, dance, traditions and a passionate competition.
There are two weeks in the middle of February in which the people of Easter Island leave aside their routine chores, dress in their traditional costumes and participate in this spectacular cultural celebration.
The name of this great party is Tapati Rapa Nui, which in English means "week of Rapa Nui". The celebration, which attracts tourists from all over the world, was born 40 years ago with the "spring festivities" that were celebrated in Chile. Currently, the Tapati is a tribute to the traditions of the people of Rapa Nui and has become one of the most important traditional festivals all over the Polynesia.
During the Tapati Rapa Nui, all eyes are put over the competition of clans, each of which represents a candidate for Queen of the Festival. One of the most exciting challenges of the festival is the Tapa Rapa Nui, the Easter Island triathlon that takes place in the impressive Rano Raraku volcano.
The Tapa Rapa Nui is divided into three parts: the Pora which is about rowing boats; the Aka Venga which is about running around the lake carrying bunches of bananas; and Vaka Ama, which is about swimming across the river with the help of a small cane board.
The Takona is another competition that attracts the attention of travelers and locals. Young men paint their bodies with natural dyes mixed with clay and are judged according to the aesthetics and symbolism of the drawings. But undoubtedly the most applauded competition is the Haka Pei, in which twelve semi-naked men descend by a hill in a kind of sledge made of banana trunks. The adrenalinic challenge takes place on the slopes of Cerro Pui, 120 meters of steep terrain that makes competitors reach speeds of up to 70 kilometers per hour.
Horse races in the afternoon and dance competitions in the evenings are also part of this great cultural celebration, as well as local gastronomy.
You can not miss the typical dishes in a traditional party of these proportions. In the case of Rapa Nui, the star is the umu tahu, a giant roast of meat and fish for the whole community.
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