Easter Island, one of the world’s last remaining outposts of mystique and mystery, starts 2023 with a bang with Tapati Rapa Nui Festival next month. Famous for its nearly 1,000 moai statues erected by the island’s early inhabitants, the Rapa Nui people, Easter Island has a unique heritage that is celebrated with this two-week event, which dates back more than 40 years. Family travelers in attendance will enjoy the opportunity to immerse themselves in the island’s history.
The festival includes a variety of events showcasing the island’s unique culture and history. By day, festivalgoers can watch daring locals participate in feats of brute strength, such as Haka Pei, a competition in which loin cloth-clad participants ride feet first on a toboggan fashioned from banana tree trunks down the slope of a 300-meter volcano known as Maunga Pu. This event is part of the Tapati Games, which also includes competitions like a spear-throwing event that has ties to Easter Island’s Rapa Nui heritage.
By night, the activities focus on traditional music and dance performances, giving visitors a glimpse into the history and culture of the peoples of Easter Island. These physical tests and cultural performances not only give insight into the identity of this corner of Polynesia but are also competition events for the participants, resulting in the grand finale: the crowning of the Queen of the Tapati.
This year’s festival, Feb. 3–11, mark the first time in two years tourists have been able to enjoy the celebrations since the COVID-19 pandemic. Since re-opening to tourism in the latter part of 2022, Easter Island welcomes visitors anew to discover its culture, beauty and traditions, and the Tapati Rapa Nui Festival is the perfect way to do that.
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