Vanuatu Land Divers - Naghol / N'Gol
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Uploaded on Sep 2, 2006
Vanuatu Land Diving - NGOL
Before bungee jumping, there was ....
.... this bizarre spectacle, which is called Naghol or N'Gol.
It began on Pentecost Island in Vanuatu (New Hebrides) many centuries, perhaps millennia ago, when a beaten woman ran away from her husband, Tamale. He found her hiding in a tall tree and called to her that if she came down he might beat her - but only a little. However if he had to get her she would be sorry. She refused. He climbed the tree and as he made his final grab, she leaped. In anguish at her death (or anger that he had missed her) Tamale jumped after her, not realising his wife had tied liana vines around her ankles and survived the fall.
Tamale perished. The ritual evolved over the years, to stripping a tall tree of it's surrounding branches and building a tower of sticks to support the trunk. The platform is made of wood and covered with leaves purposely to protect the platform from the sun drying it out before the ceremony. The leaves are removed by the jumpers before the jump. The liana vines which are tied to the ankel and slightly elastic following the wet season, are shredded and the other end tied to the tower. Men and boys, some as young as seven years, climb the tower and leap from the platforms in a show of strength, and a statement to women that they can never be tricked again....
It is also a fertility rite. Every year in April, when the first yam crop is ready, the islanders on the south of the island start building a huge tower for the land diving. It will take about 5 weeks to build, all materials come from the forest: lianas, branches, trunks. Eventually a wooden tower between 30 to 40 meters high is erected. Each diver must select his own vine. Its size is of utmost importance and if it is only 10 cm too long, the diver will hit the ground and break his neck. As the vines stretch at the end of the dive, the land diver's heads curl under and their shoulders touch the earth, making it fertile for the following year's yam crop.
The ritual is followed with a celebration of Kava, Tuluk, and Laplap. Yum Yum !!
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