Vanuatu Festivals & Cultural Events
The rich and authentic culture in Vanuatu is incredible and it’s evident no matter which island your visiting. You can learn about the undying culture of Vanuatu through a range of different experiences like the delectable food, conversations with the local people, a visit to the Cultural Centre or our favourite, participating in and/or watching a traditional Vanuatu ceremony, ritual or festival.
The immersive cultural experience you get from witnessing, or even taking part in, traditional dances, festivals and rituals is second-to-none. Most of the cultural events and traditions take place in the more ‘undiscovered’ areas of Vanuatu where the roads are rough but the scenery is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. So even the journey there is just as exciting as the actual event. Take a look at My Vanuatu’s top picks for cultural festivals and events!
St Andrews Day Festival | November
Celebrated over 3 days on Rah Island, St Andrews Day Festival is one of the biggest celebrations in Vanuatu. While this festival celebrates Christianity and the life of St. Andrew, this special event has been infused with local traditions over the years. Visitors are welcome to participate in this extraordinary celebration through learning traditional Vanuatu fishing techniques and watching the custom dancing and performances and the “Volcano Bake”.
Naghol Land Diving Ritual | April – June
Bear witness as the bravest of the Vanuatu islanders take the plunge on Pentecost Island! This ancient Vanuatu ritual is world-famous and a definite must-see when visiting the islands. Influencing the invention of bungee jumping, the story behind land diving in Vanuatu is more than just adrenaline pumping fun. Every year islanders spend up to seven weeks skilfully constructing the 20-30m tall towers out of native wood tightly bound together with homemade ropes. The ritual usually begins in April through until June when men and boys dive off the towers with nothing but vines tied to their ankles. Unlike bungee jumpers, land divers intentionally aim for their skin/hair to kiss the ground – sounds crazy, right? Don’t worry, the towers are well-thought-out structures that are skilfully built by the islanders so it’s totally safe. The ritual believes that this blesses the ground to bring a good harvest. Land diving is also a rite of passage ceremony for young boys, acting as their acceptance to manhood.
Lakona Bay Kastam Festival | August
Hosted by Chief John Star, Father Levi and the villages of Lakona Bay, visitors will be welcomed with open arms to experience the local customs of Gaua Islands at the Lakona Bay Kastam Festival. Experience and partake in traditional dances, wood and stone carving, musical performances, traditional magic shows, bonfires, feasts and more!
Fanla Festival & Rom Dancing | July
Taken place on Ambrym Island, the Fanla Festival is a must-see if you want to experience the authentic and energetic Rom custom of Vanuatu. Exclusively for males, hundreds of villagers gather in one of the oldest villages on the island, Fanla, for two non-stop days of dances, ceremonies, demonstrations and more. Watching the Rom dancers is a spectacular experience – the ground vibrates beneath your feet with rhythmic stomping of the dancers – and the dancers dress in flowing costumes and interesting masks.