Vanuatu — Festivals and Events
History, culture, local tradition, and religion all play a role in the festivals in Vanuatu. One local ritual worth seeing is the death-defying stunt of the local men of Pentecost Island who dive from as high as 98ft with only tree vines tied to their legs. Visitors are also welcome to join in the festivities of Saint Andrew Festival, a Christian festival which has adopted local customs in Vanuatu.
John Frum Day
John Frum is a mythical figure associated with a cargo cult which arose on Tanna Island in Vanuatu. Usually depicted as a WWII soldier from the US, John Frum is said to bring wealth and prosperity to those who believe in him. Every year, usually in March, a military parade is held in his honor, signifying that this non-violent cult is still quite active today.
ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps and ANZAC Day, April 25, commemorates the day when Australian and New Zealand soldiers fought and died in the battle of Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire in WWI. The Australian and New Zealand high commissions hold a joint event every year in Port Vila to celebrate the lives of the ANZAC troopers.
Nagol Land Diving
This is perhaps the cultural tradition of the ni-Vanuatu which has made the nation famous all over the world. Said to be the pre-cursor of modern bungee jumping, Nagol land diving sees local men of the southern part of Pentecost Island jumping off wooden towers from heights of up to 98ft with only tree vines tied to their feet as part of a coming-of-age ritual. Previously held once a year, the tradition now takes place every Saturday from April to June to accommodate tourists who want to witness this death-defying ritual of the locals.
Fête de la Musique
As with many other cities around the world, June 21st sees performances from both amateur and professional musicians showcasing their talent at different venues across the towns of Port Vila and Luganville. Musical artists donate their time for free and spectators come to see the show free-of-charge.
Saint Andrew Festival
The Saint Andrew Festival is a Christian festival in Vanuatu that has been infused with local indigenous traditions. In the Banks region, locals from Rah and Mota Lava have been coming together for more around 100 years now in this festival celebrating the life of Saint Andrew, the Apostle. The three-day event sees both locals and visitors in large festivities and feasts featuring food cooked by geothermal energy. The festival is held every November 29.