Who has not ever heard of Easter Island? Rapa Nui, the navel of the world. There, according arrived made him a different name: Te Pito Te Henua (the earth the center of the world) to the Polynesians, San Carlos to the Spanish, Rapa Nui to the sailors of the nineteenth and Easter Sunday, for the Dutch because they came its coast that day. Without doubt the most original of all.
This small island of 180 square kilometers, forgotten as error in the middle of nowhere, is a mythical and fantastic location. A 3,700 km, Chile and many hours by plane from any continent, it is normal to explain why its inhabitants believed they were the only ones on the planet. The navel of the world. So conceived the life of a very particular way. In fact little is known of their worldview or their version of the origin of the world, since the breed was almost extinct, but it preserves is very interesting. Obviously we can not believe it at face value because, in the absence of written documents, all transmitted orally and you know what happens with this type of information … sometimes make little sense.
According to legend, it seems that the island was colonized from the third century and polineasia V by a tribe led by the son of a king who had no right to the throne. So following the advice of his father, Hotu Matua was in search of his own kingdom and came to the island with a hundred men. This king, had in turn their own children. Specifically seven. And he divided the island, so that each govern their own territory. The north would be for the elderly, the Miru clan, that of the noble class and he would be king. The South would be for the younger son of the clan Hotu Tuba, the priestly class, and the center of the island would be divided into five parts to the remaining children, who would be the working class.
Life on the island was more or less sustainable, however, with the arrival of Hotu Matua, the Polynesians brought chickens and rats a small grocery (edible for them obviously) that fed much of the flora of the island, which was not very abundant, so the human deforestation and uncontrolled growth of rodents in a few years the island was almost desolate. The priestly class advised to invoke the ancestors, and that was the closest thing they had to the gods. So it became fashionable, making sculptures to recall every king, every priest or every person of some importance in the island, in order to be able to call more effectively in the future … hence the famous moai (moai not because their language there is no plural for this word), the giant stone heads.
Faced with adversity, the scene was building more and bigger heads. Carving the stone and then snatching the rock. As more and had more work and less food, things soon got worse on the island. At first devised the Birdman competition to decide who would be the governor (or king) of the island for a year, but it was clear that it favored only a clan, the clan to which belonged the winner of the competition, while the other clans were starving. The population was around 30,000 people and with so few resources soon war broke out between clans. First just stole food, but then came to practice cannibalism (though some say it was a ritual). To carry out such madness, the first thing was to resolve the possible protection that might come from the ancestors, so they decided to knock down the moai of the other clans to lose their magic power. Hence, when the Dutch arrived they found the island in ruins and only a little over a hundred men living in caves.
The secret of the Moai
The first settlers of the island went to the quarry east of the island, under the volcano Poike at Rano Raraku. They carved the moai according to a measure set by the priests and then pulled out of the stone (not vice versa) to let it slid down the hill and remained of foot. Then, by some mechanism that could be stone balls, cylinders of wood, rope or go to you to know what … the traveling around the island to take them to where they should “come alive”. There, placed on a sacred ceremonial platform, called AHU and fit the stone to finally put the eyes with red volcanic rock and obsidian. At that time the moai was finished and it was a sacred ancestor.
Eventually they decided to put the “hat” that is actually what is the bow that the Rapa Nui did her hair (which also used a red dye, so they are of red stone). This was called Pukao.
If they take off your eyes, threw to the ground, broke … were desecrated and lost its sacred character ceased to be magical. There moai around the island in many different sizes and shapes. Even some were kneeling, but now can only see one in this position. So it is not so famous. They come with big ears, small, decorated with designs in the belly … it’s like a carnival. Must be seen.
The origin of the Easter Egg
The famous Easter celebration comes from the Birdman competition and was among the best athlete (sooty tern) of each of the seven tribes of the island to be the Tangata Manu and govern for a year Rapa Nui. The competition began with the terns arrive islanders (manu taro), who went to the small neighboring island of Motu Nui, to lay their eggs. The competitors rose to the top of the volcano Rano Kao, which was the ceremonial center of Orongo. This space was sacred and belonged to all tribes. From here, they had to descend the cliff with a small raft of reeds, the pora, then help them float while swimming towards the island. There they could stay for days, while the birds laid their first egg and the competitors were.
After swimming back and should climb the cliff again to deliver the egg, without breaking, the Bird Man bequeathed them the title. For this, should not only play the first leg swimming with sharks and being the fastest, but also had to be careful that other competitors do not were playing tricks on throwing a vacuum or dusting them or from breaking the egg. Companionship, and compassion were two concepts unknown to them, considering that food played all year.
The ceremony and competition took place in spring and as the egg was white with black spots and had to find it because it was hidden, this is the basis of the tradition of decorating Easter eggs and then go looking for them.
Another magical place
The stone known as “desires” is a polished stone, round and large, surrounded by four others, too round to be touching if one wants to return to the island sometime. Is adjacent to AHU TE PITO KURA eye and seems to have some sort of magnetic property which gives very strong energy powers.
The most skeptical can try passing a compass on its surface. The poor compass goes crazy and does not know what to do with his arrow. The most sensitive, just have to put hands on him to be warm and if you have enough patience, you sleep a few minutes hands, arms … is a very special feeling.
The stone, apparently part of an AHU, a sacred altar. In fact there is the STOP moai, which measures 10 meters, pukao included and weighs 85 tons. It is the largest Ahu built in and is believed to be the last to be demolished by 1840.
It is said that this stone was brought by Hotu Matua in his boat when he reached the island, it is known as Te Pito O Te Henua, the navel of the world.
How to go
The truth is that there are only two viable options.
One is the romantic, which is by ship from Chile. It takes two to three weeks and given that the island has no port, you can only take the boat that sails (no fixed date) twice a year May and September) and carrying supplies to the island, landing at the Hanga Piko.
The other, more simple and short, is to catch a plane. LAN flies between 2 and 4 times a week from Santiago. They are 5 hours to the airport Mataveri of Rapa Nui. It is likely that in the coming months the same company will add another frequency from Lima.