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Naghol Land Diving and the origins of bungee jumping

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Naghol

Naghol Land Diving and the origins of bungee jumping

The world’s first ever bungee jump was made in Britain in 1979. Three adventurers, David Kirke, Geoff Tabin and Simon Keeling, members of the Dangerous Sports Club took the plunge from the 250 foot high Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol.

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The idea behind this “leap of faith” was inspired by more ancient roots; a “vine jumping” ritual carried out by certain natives of Vanuatu . The natives were traced down to Pentecost, an island in Vanuatu. The jump traces its origins to a male fertility ritual, a rite of passage and also a tale of escape and redemption.

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Naghol or N’gol is an ancient ceremony in honour of a woman who tried to escape her abusive husband by climbing up a tree. Her husband discovered her in the canopy above and climbed up, promising to exact vengeance for the trouble she had caused him. Upon seeing him, she jumped off the tree and he too followed suit. He plummeted to his death whilst she survived the plunge. She had fastened a vine to her ankle which broke her fall and saved her from an untimely death. Naghol is now celebrated in correspondence to the yam harvesting season.

Today, the village elders construct a tower to represent the tree from where the woman leaped and although it was a woman who took the first leap, only men are allowed to jump. Each dive day is filled with celebration; participants spend the night under the tower to escape evil spirits and begin the next day with a feast, song and dance. Before taking the leap, every man confesses to his wrongdoings and seeks forgiveness for the same. There’s a good chance of fatality and hence every diver wishes to die with a clean slate.

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Ninety eight feet below, the crowd sing and cheer the diver. And then he takes the plunge. A successful plunge would be a slight brush against the tilled earth. The touch of the body, it is said, guarantees a successful harvest of yam.

Naghol happens all through April and May on Pentecost island and is now a major tourist attraction. Here’s the calendar of events for the next Naghol dive.

Saturday 08, May 20, 2017
Near Tansip on Pentecost Island

Saturday 09, May 27, 2017
Near Tansip on Pentecost Island

Saturday 10, Jun 3, 2017
Near Tansip on Pentecost Island

Saturday 11, Jun 10, 2017
Near Tansip on Pentecost Island

Saturday 12, Jun 17, 2017
Near Tansip on Pentecost Island

Saturday 13, Jun 24, 2017
Near Tansip on Pentecost Island

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