Pentecost Island, Vanuatu

Pentecost Naghol: Bungee Jumping for Real Men

natural stretchers
Young people test the strength of lianas that support the jumping tower.
Air Vanuatu
Inhabitants accompany an Air Vanuatu plane.
Of departure
Woman and child follow the trajectory of an Air Vanuatu plane on the runway at Lanorore.
In peace
Young man rests on the back of the base of the jumping tower
young spectators
Children watch the choreography performed by adults at the base of the Pentecost jumping tower.
on the way to lanorore
Natives approach Lanorore from the coast with the neighboring island of Ambae in the background.
Naghol-Pentecost-Bungee-Jumping-Men's Eyes
Girls follow the action of the jumpers on top of the tower.
Grapefruit Brothers
Children head to the Pentecost ceremony site along the beach and eat huge grapefruits.
Woman from the village of Lonorore covers her breasts somewhat embarrassed between tribal and western values
doped jumper
Naghol jumper with red eyes due to consumption of natural drugs that facilitate the Naghol jump.
nanbawan netwok
Outdoor promotes the mobile communications company Digicel.
Lice ??
Big sister picks up a girl in the span of two jumps.
full jump
Saltador prepares his arms to protect himself from an eventual impact on the ground.
pure jump
Another young man in midair, on this occasion, after jumping from an intermediate platform in the tower.
solidity test
Pentecost Man examines the solidity of the jumping tower.
pair jumper
One of the jumpers lives with other young people from Pentecost, just before his jump
worried women
Women observe the moment of yet another Naghol jump, worried about the fate of their young people
Namba bright
Vegetable capsule that distinguishes two tribal types of Vanuatu, the Big Nambas and the Small Nambas, depending on the size of the capsule.
top of the tower
One of the jumpers at the top of the Lanorore jumping tower.
cool jumper
Saltador poses at the base of the tower wearing sunglasses borrowed from an outside spectator at the ceremony.
In 1995, the people of Pentecostes threatened to sue extreme sports companies for stealing the Naghol ritual. In terms of audacity, the elastic imitation falls far short of the original.

The Harbin Y-12's approach to the runway unveils Mount Vulmat covered in dense jungle soaked by two days of heavy rain.

And a tiny seaside made of black sand and pebbles that vegetation invades, almost reaching the blue water of the Pacific Ocean.

When the plane comes to a standstill, a small crowd of ni-vanuatu (Vanuatu inhabitants) curious leave the shade of the trees and approach to greet new visitors.

Airplane Air Vanuatu, Pentecost Naghol, Bungee Jumping, Vanuatu

Inhabitants accompany an Air Vanuatu plane.

The Quiet Moments Preceding the Naghol of Pentecost

We are invited to register with the elders of Lonorore. Once the formality has been completed, we are free to explore the exotic coastline that hides the town.

Gradually, more groups of natives arrive along a narrow path or along the beach. They too cluster around the barracks that serve the airport.

On the way to Lanorore, Naghol from Pentecost, Bungee Jumping, Vanuatu

Natives approach Lanorore from the coast with the neighboring island of Ambae in the background.

It's only an hour before the ritual begins. The enclosure remains off-limits. Only young jumpers and men who take care of the final preparations attend.

It's the end of May. The Naghol season is still halfway through. Once, the event took place once a year.

As more travelers discovered Pentecost, the ceremony proved to be an inescapable source of profit for the villages that practiced it.

The Origins and Secular Tradition of Pentecost Naghol

It is now repeated eight times, from April to June. Its origin, if true, could not be more unique.

It is said on the island that a native complained about the persistence of her husband's sexual advances, her name Tamalie. Unable to sensitize him, he got fed up and fled into the forest. Tamalie chased her.

Embarrassed Native, Pentecost Naghol, Bungee Jumping, Vanuatu

Woman from the village of Lonorore covers her breasts somewhat embarrassed between tribal and western values

He forced her to climb a prickly pear tree. Cornered, seeing her husband ascend, the woman tied vines around her ankles and launched herself. It swayed along the ground, unharmed, before letting go.

Feeling challenged but not noticing the vines, Tamalie jumped after her and lost her life.

From then on, the men of Pentecost decided to practice the jump with lianas so that they would no longer be deceived by their partners. Thereafter, the practice became kastom (tradition).

In mid-air, Naghol de Pentecostes, Bungee Jumping, Vanuatu

Another young man in midair, on this occasion, after jumping from an intermediate platform in the tower.

On the fringe of legend, Naghol is carried out as a rite of passage for village boys. The natives believe that, when carried out successfully, it contributes to good cassava crops.

Pentecost Youth, Pentecost Naghol, Bungee Jumping, Vanuatu

One of the jumpers lives with other young people from Pentecost, just before his jump

And to ward off the ills of the rainy season, including the malaria that prevails in the Vanuatu archipelago, as in other lush parts of Melanesia.

The Tropical Intensify of Pentecost Naghol

When permission is given to advance, outsiders quickly forget about the mosquitoes that bother and worry them. They join the group of native spectators and advance through the forest, in the footsteps of a hurried host.

At some point, the narrow path enters a wide clearing. From it stand out a muddy slope and, at its top, a huge tower of logs.

While the assistance is distributed along the foothills and sides of the slope, some men soften the ground in the projection of the base of the tower.

Others review and retouch its chaotic structure.

Elder Tests Tower, Naghol of Pentecost, Bungee Jumping, Vanuatu

Pentecost Man examines the solidity of the jumping tower.

At the same time, a group of tribal supporters – children at the front, followed by women and then by men – dance, sing and whistle, to and fro, in a way to encourage the jumpers.

Support group, Naghol Pentecost, Bungee Jumping, Vanuatu

Natives carry out repetitive movements to encourage the next jumper.

These are kept in the vicinity of the tower for two days, without contact with girls to ensure the required sexual abstinence.

It is also common for them to anoint themselves with coconut oil and to use wild boar tusks as amulets, in addition to nambas, vegetable capsules that wrap around the penis.

Jumper, Pentecost Naghol, Bungee Jumping, Vanuatu

Saltador poses at the base of the tower wearing sunglasses borrowed from an outside spectator at the ceremony.

As we noticed later, some are inspired by the use of natural substances (read drugs).

The longer the jump they prepare for, the greater the inspiration.

The Naghol Tower Leaps. Courage (or Madness) from the Bottom Up

The ritual begins with dives from the lower platforms of the tower. Evolves to the top, depending on the age of the participants. The village elders choose the lianas. They have to be cut shortly before the ceremony, according to the weight of each jumper and the height from which they are going to jump.

Despite the required precision, those responsible continue to dispense with any modern instrument. Once the selection is made, the tips of the lianas are unraveled and attached to the participants' ankles.

If they are loosely tied or too long, the unfortunate jumper crashes to the ground. If they are short, the jumper could collide with the base of the tower, from which several trunks project.

Young man at tower base, Naghol Pentecost, Bungee Jumping, Vanuatu

Young man rests on the back of the base of the jumping tower

The Naghol of Pentecost that Ended in Disgrace

In order not to compromise the elasticity of the lianas, Naghol was always carried out in the dry season. But in 1974, the colonial administration wanted to impress the sovereign Queen Elizabeth II – who visited the so-called New Hebrides.

Against the wishes of the natives, the visit of the queen forced the ceremony to take place during the rains. It was once without an example. The lianas used by one of the jumpers broke.

In full jump, Naghol de Pentecostes, Bungee Jumping, Vanuatu

Saltador prepares his arms to protect himself from an eventual impact on the ground.

They caused the only tragedy directly caused by the Naghol dives.

Back in the clearing, the intermediate jumpers have already fulfilled their role and the ceremony takes place without accidents. The group of “supporters” goes back to dancing and singing, then, with redoubled intensity.

The Mad Leap from the Vertiginous Top of the Naghol Tower

The Moment of Truth, Naghol Pentecost, Bungee Jumping, Vanuatu

Saltador raises his arms to the sky, seconds before launching himself from the top of Naghol's tower.

One last teenager climbs to the top of the tower where he stands on a tiny platform. At its height, he joins in the chants for a minute and waves looking at the sky.

Without further contemplation, it drives forward, covers his head and neck with his arms and flies over the Pentecostes jungle, before diving towards the ground.

Lianas break the fall, like the tower that bends slightly and softens the stretch. As expected, the jumper's hands lightly touch the ground.

In addition to some pain in his legs, after being examined by other villagers, it is proved that he is in a position to celebrate.

Jumping forward, Pentecost Naghol, Bungee Jumping, Vanuatu

Saltador projects his arms to get away from the sharp trunks of the tower.

Once the ceremony is over, the audience is allowed to approach the tower. In three stages, it envelops and glorifies the new adult. But the jumper's reaction is contained.

His red eyes explain a certain “absence” that makes up for it with endless smiles.

Doped Jumper, Pentecost Naghol, Bungee Jumping, Vanuatu

Jumper with red eyes due to consumption of natural drugs that facilitate Naghol.

The monetary compensation demanded by the Isle of Pentecost to bungee-jumping companies in the world for copying Naghol has not yet been paid.

If one of these Pentecost days wins this case, all your natives will have extra reasons to smile.

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At Pentecost, in their late teens, young people launch themselves from a tower with only lianas tied to their ankles. Bungee cords and harnesses are inappropriate fussiness from initiation to adulthood.
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