Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Toka Festival 8th – 11th October 2012

Ladies getting ready for toka. Photo source: Trekearth.com.
Vanuatu has arrived at another three day Toka or Nekowiar Festival on Tanna island. Toka is one of Vanuatu’s most spectacular custom ceremonies for gift-exchanging between tribes making a magnificent sight, as up to over 2000 participants attempt to out-do each other with their lavish gifts, dancing skills and ornate makeup.  The ceremony begins with women dancing & chanting all night, surrounded by men who are waiting for dawn to come so they can take their place. At sunrise, the Toka dance begins and the men mime scenes of daily life. A group of the host village then carries out a dance in reply to the Toka, stamping the ground rhythmically. There is also a pig killing ceremony, food exchange and visits to various Nakamals or traditional meeting places where kava is drunk. This year’s Toka Festivals will run from 8th to 11th October 2012.  Program follows:  8th Oct - Napennapen women dance, 9th Oct - Toka Dance, 10th Oct - Napennapen & Toka dance, 11th Oct – Pig Killing ceremony. 

Call Philip Lop and Roslyn Mojuju at Tanna Iwaru Beach on +678 5650180 or +678 5650145 for more information on entrance fees, and any other information on the festival.