9 Feb 2011

Pentecost Chiefs in Vanuatu move to take control of nangol ritual

7:48 pm on 9 February 2011

Chiefs of Pentecost Island, the home of nangol or land-diving in Vanuatu, say the tradition has become too commercialised and are seeking to take full control of the ritual.

The Nangol ceremony, which is said to have inspired bungee jumping, involves local men and boys from Pentecost Island jumping from a 20 to 30 metre high manmade tower with only a vine attached to their legs.

It occurs between April to July to mark the harvest of the yam festival.

However our Vanuatu correspondent, Hilaire Bule, says with the ceremony being performed three times a week for tourists the South Pentecost Council of Chiefs, Malbangbang, resolved to take over all management of the ritual.

"They have to put the control and the good management of the ceremony because they say if they don't put the control, nago will lose its traditional value. If they organise 3 ceremonies per week it means that they have to cut more trees, more vines and it will have a negative impact on the environment of the people of South Pentecost."

Hilaire Bule says the chiefs of South Pentecost are still to decide how many times they want to allow the ritual occur, or what kind of commercial limits they want to put on the tradition.