A Unique Spectacle - Tapati Festival on Easter Island
8. January 2020
You were told that really big celebrations last three days?
That´s very little compared to Rapa Nui´s 15 day Tapati Festival! Every year in February, the small island goes crazy and hosts one most the most spectacular events in the world. The unparalleled Tapati is celebrated to commemorate the arrival of the first Polynesian settlers and their king Hotu Matu'a, who populated the then uninhabited island.
During the Festival, visitors can immerse in the magical world of Rapa Nui and its traditions. There are competitions in about forty exotic, sometimes very adventurous disciplines that are meant as a homage to the hard life of the first islanders: canoe building competitions, swimming-, running-, rowing-, sailing-, horse riding races and more. A special kind of triathlon has been introduced several years ago: Young men first compete rowing in traditional reed kayaks. When they reach the shore, they run, with 20 kg of bananas around their necks. The last stretch is in the warter again, this time swimming. A total of three kilometers are covered by this race.
Probably the most spectacular and also the most dangerous competition is called Haka Pei: The participants race down a steep hill on two banana tree trunks – spectators love this!
Apart from sports, there are as well poetry contests, singing and dancing competitions, cooking contests, body painting and a lot of music and dance for everyone. Another highlight is a big parade and the choice of the Tapati queen.
Literally everybody on Rapa Nui takes part in the Tapati festival and visitors are welcome to join in as well or just look, everyone as he/she likes. In February the island's population increases from the normal 7,800 to over 12,000!
Easter Island is surely not only fascinating because of the Tapati Festival, many describe it as having a magical flair. Due to the climate, it is well suited for travel all year round. If you would like to be part of the island for a while and not only visit it, but also want to preserve its nature, you can get involved in our volunteer project in environmental protection on Easter Island. How to get there? Contact us, we will help you further!