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            There is one Ahu where the Moai is looking outward at the sea. Why is this Moai different from the rest? Legend has it that these seven Moai are the early explorers sent by the King to Easter Island around 300-400 AD. They are facing their homeland, which was one of the Polynesian islands in the Pacific Ocean. This particular Ahu is positioned such that it is aligned with the rising sun at its back. I was left in awe at the brilliance of the ancient Rapa Nui people!
As the population on the island grew, so did the number of clans. Each clan has their own leader and all want to become “Tangata Manu” (literally meaning the King) or “Birdman” (not the same as the movie!) to lead the whole island. Boys start their birdman training as early as the age of six. When they turn 21, they will represent their clans in the birdman competition.
Gathered at Orongo, the competitors
descend the vertical cliff, and swim to the nearest inlet to wait for the first egg laid by a migrant bird. Obtaining the egg is not the end, as victory is won only after the egg is safely transported back to the summit. Despite the danger, the winner would have proven himself to be an extremely brave and strong man. He would be made King and live on the summit for one year. The competition might last over a month, in the course of which each contestant is only allowed a hook to fish for food.
Rapa Nui Culture and Cuisine
The Rapa Nui people are doing their best to preserve and promote their culture. Polynesian by heritage, they have a lot of fish dishes in their cuisine, just like the Tahitians. There is even a sashimi-like dish called ceviche that is served with warm Jasmine rice.
We were lucky to be invited to lunch by a local family. Not only did we get to
enjoy authentic Rapa Nui food, we were treated to a performance of their native music as well. There was a song about how the Rapa Nui people miss a Moai that is away from Easter Island and is unable to return home. A sentimental piece of music made me wonder how far we would go in search of our own heritage.
Our tour guide was the proud descendent of a royal clan. He studied in the US, but decided to return to Easter Island. We learnt a lot about the culture and history of Rapa Nui (the native prefers this name to Easter Island) from him. Oral history played a great part in our adventure, from the tour guide and the family we visited!
For me, visiting Easter Island was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was well worth the effort and the lengthy travelling time, to be there to experience the rich heritage and culture of Rapa Nui people in person.
出外旅行,若要经历29小时的长途 飞行,多数人会直呼“自讨苦 吃”。然而,旅游地若是智利的这座神
秘奇幻岛屿,那就另当别论,甚至甘之 如饴。从香港前往复活节岛,首先需要 花9小时飞往澳大利亚的墨尔本,接着 飞14个半小时到达智利首都圣地亚哥转 机,最后再花5个半小时后方能飞抵梦寐 以求的目的地。
复活节岛,在波利尼西亚语中称之 为 “ 拉 帕努伊”, 西 班 牙 语 则 称 之 为“Isla de Pascua”,因岛上的“巨石” 而闻名遐迩。这些名为“摩艾”人像的 巨石,共有900余座之多,代表土著拉 帕努伊人祖先的神灵。这些巨石人像大 多面向内陆,是部落的守护者。
相传拉帕努伊人埋葬先祖的遗体 后,会在原地竖起“摩艾”石像。这 些由巨石制成的人像,有96%的石材来 自拉诺拉拉库火山的采石场。“摩艾” 石像遍布全岛,有些还雕上不同颜色的 “帽子”,这些帽子的石种与人像的有 别。“摩艾”石像约有20公尺高,而帽 子的重量超过一公吨,究竟如何结合二 者,令人百思不解。
据推测,人像和帽子需要众人利 用绳索合力搬运,不同部落会将“摩 艾”运至不同地点的祭坛(称为“阿
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