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Naghol Land Diving

Posted in Location & Attractions @ Feb 4th 2016 5:11pm - By Administrator

Naghol is a land diving ritual performed by the men of Pentecost Island, one of the islands of Vanuatu. The ritual inspired modern bungee jumping and consists of diving off a tall wooden tower with tree vines wrapped around the ankles. In addition to ensuring a bountiful harvest, the ceremony is a rite of passage for young boys. The event also features traditional singing and dancing and is followed by a celebratory feast.

The vine diving ritual is also now used to show acceptance into manhood. Between April and June every year, on a Saturday, men in the southern part of the island jump from tall towers (around 20 to 30 m) with vines tied to their feet, in a ritual believed to ensure a good yam harvest and fertility for men.

The Legend of the vine jumping festival tells of a woman who ran away from her husband who beat her and hid in a tall tree. The husband, Tamale begged her to say sorry and come down but warned he may beat her a little more. She refused so he climbed the tree after her and as he reached the top she jumped. In his anguish Tamale jumped after her, only to realise that she had tied liana vines around her ankles. The woman survived while Tamale perished. To this day, men jump from the towers as a show of strength to women in the village and as a statement that they cannot be tricked again. When the vine stretches at the end of the dive the land divers head curls under their shoulders and touches the earth, making it fertile for the following year's yam crop.

Land diving was first given international exposure when David Attenborough and a BBC film crew brought back footage of the ritual during the 1950s. Nowadays, tourists pay large sums of money to witness the ceremony, often taking day trips from Port Vila. These tours are often booked out so make sure you book in advance. See the land diving first hand.

After a hike through the jungle you come upon the bungy site. The giant bungee tower is in a small clearing with a back drop of jungle and the structure itself is a crude tower with 5 bungee levels made out of native wood held tightly together with homemade ropes made out of liana vine. It is situated on a slight slope and the ground in the front is freshly tilled to help break the fall of the jumpers. This is an experience that will leave you holding your breath as you watch each magnificent man take the daring death defying plunge toward earth. Your land diving day tour will also include taking part in village celebrations after the jump, including traditional music and dancing, and a feast of home-cooked food shared with the successful jumpers. Don’t miss this exciting ritual that speaks of Vanuatu’s culture.

Our Accommodation Vanuatu is located in Vanuatu. Our resort is located in Vanuatu. Our oceanfront two bedroom apartment features a fully equipped kitchen, separate lounge, bath with shower, private sundeck and covered outdoor area.

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Image courtesy of Paul Stein / Creative Commons


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