Friday, May 04, 2012

Land Diving in Vanuatu

Land diving (Nagol or N’gol) is a special tribal ritual that looks like bungee jumping performed by the men of the southern part of Pentecost Island, Vanuatu. Men jump off of wooden towers around 20 to 30 metres (66 to 98 ft) high, with two tree vines wrapped around the ankles. Land diving is done without any safety equipment. The land diver's objective or at least one of the requirements of the land dive is that he must hit his head on the ground. The tradition has developed into a tourist attraction.

It is believed that the ritual of the N’gol began centuries, perhaps millennia ago, when a beaten woman ran away from her husband, Tamale. He found her hiding in a tall tree and called to her that if she came down he might beat her.

Local residents believe he climbed the tree and as he made his final grab, she leaped. In anguish at her death (or anger that he had missed her) Tamale jumped after her, not realising his wife had tied liana vines around her ankles and survived the fall.

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