Tuesday 05 December – Tahuata
In less of 15 days the village of Vaitahu (usually so peaceful) will host the representatives and groups dance with 6 Islands Marquisiennes. Of many sailboats and boat the Aranui tourists are expected for the event... The scale of the village, It is a "huge human tide" in perspective!!
We arrive on Tahuata and go directly in the Bay of Hapatoni find Tehina and his family. His house is well animated. Around the table, brothers and sisters cut the tuna (caught at night), pigs and goats for then freeze them. The Community Hall which must accommodate the delegations during the 4 nights of the festival is cleaned and decorated. Carter and other inhabitants daily attend Vaitahu to help debrousser, bring the last bunches of bananas of the island or the crowns of flowers. After busy days Kalino dance group repeat his show and we are looking forward to it!
Monday 18 December - opening of the Festival
It is on this esplanade that will be held dances and songs under the eye of the Tiki representing the King IOTETE.
The Marquesans drums (Te beat) beautifully sculpted will accompany during 4 days each delegation.
The afternoon is the opening ceremony which begins in the nearby Bay to Hanamiai on the sports field. The bleachers are packed , the organizers, the delegations and guests face to the public. Everyone is waiting for the speech of the president of French Polynesia (Edouard Fritch) to start the festivities.
The commentator presents each group of dancers who have a delivery of five minutes each to wish good morning (KA HOA). Everyone puts heart, Some are impressive "A capella"...
others offer a more Warrior show. A Haka accompanied by powerful guttural cries.
The highlight of the show is the delegation of Fatu-Hiva with the older dancer who made a graceful demonstration of the egg pick-up. The costumes are in part made with plant materials which must take during the festival!
We return to the village and see the craftsmanship of each of the Islands. Some musicians play the ukulele with Tehina accompanying them humming melodious lyrics. Workshops of traditional tattoos do demonstrations (no photos allowed)…
Tuesday 19 December - Kai Kai
The 2nd day is devoted to the community meal for about 1400 people in which each island contributes. Pigs cooked in ovens Marquesans since dawn. We arrive just in time to get out them of the Earth.
It is cooked!
Warriors carry the pig to the place of the feast and honor in traditional songs the meal looming.
It's in a last effort that the pig is positioned,
and cut to be served in huge bowls rosewood, most carved.
Each island has its marquee where are installed the various dishes... some a little gourmet is to lick the fingers!!
A few hours after... that speaks for itself!
Again a long day and an evening show in colors approaching. The dances are harmonious, women are concentrated on their gesture,
and the gaiety of the dancers can be read on all the smiling faces.
Each dance has a specific theme and this one is the sacrifice of the pig (You can see floor between bunches of bananas)
While this provision is the (famous) Dance of the bird that each island must interpret.
All songs are traditional stories and many words escape us lack of translation. But what counts is to be able to attend this event and see how the Marquesans take pleasure to enhance and renew the culture of their ancestors.
Friday 22 December - Bay of Hanateio
Once the festival finished we join Patrick and Noelle (Boat utopia) in the Bay of Hanateio in the South East of Tahuata. We take the low wind from North to go, because of trade winds normally this Bay is beaten by the waves and the wind.
Daily wild horses down the beach for a last swim in the sea!
It's Christmas Eve and everyone is on his "31"! We cook our last lobster accompanied by Cuba of foie gras that Patrick and Noelle had kept for the occasion.
We expect a good weather window down to Gambier. It takes a week to go, and it's probably in the sea we will welcome the new year...