Sunday, December 6, 2009


Marc Ginn told me about this about an hour ago... ever heard of easter island? well, there is more to the island than huge stone heads. Looks like they put some type of value on fitness according to their Birdman competition: taken from men's journal...

The next morning I took a taxi south from Hanga Roa up to the top of the extinct volcanic crater Rano Kau, home to the ancient ceremonial site of Orongo. With a stunning view west across the Pacific, it was here that one of the most important ceremonies on Easter Island took place. Every Spring, chiefs from the major tribes throughout the island would come together at this village to participate in the birdman competition.

Each tribe would enter its own competitor who climbed 1000 feet down the steep cliffs and plunged into the ocean below. He would then swim through shark infested waters for over a mile to reach the tiny nearby island of Motu Nui where he would wait for the laying of the first egg from a migratory bird known as the sooty tern. The first competitor to return with the egg won the honor of becoming birdman for his master. Upon being crowned birdman, this individual went off to live a life of seclusion for one year where all his needs were attended and he was afforded many privileges.2

Since the birdman cult was a relatively late invention on Easter Island, the ceremonial center at Orongo has survived into modern times relatively intact. I walked along a well worn path past low circular stone-houses built into the hillside. Some of them contain painted artwork that is still barely visible. Unfortunately entrance is not permitted.

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