French Polynesia Holidays

French Polynesia, a group of 118 islands and atolls in the South Pacific, is well-known for its magnificent beaches, tropical scenery, and vibrant culture. The Society Islands, the Tuamotu Archipelago, the Gambier Islands, the Marquesas Islands, and the Austral Islands are the five primary groupings into which the islands are split. There are many holidays and events to experience throughout the year, and each group has its own own blend of culture, history, and natural beauty.

parade in france

Bastille Day

One of the most celebrated holidays in French Polynesia is Bastille Day, which is observed on July 14. The French Revolution was launched in 1789 with the storming of the Bastille prison, which is commemorated by this national holiday. Parades, fireworks, and traditional Polynesian dances are all used to mark the festival. The event will feature vibrant floats, upbeat music, and plenty of food and drink for attendees.

On the island of Tahiti, the main city of Papeete hosts one of the most magnificent festivals. The parade, which has floats decked with flowers and other natural materials, is the primary event and travels through the city’s streets. A large fireworks show that illuminates the night sky occurs after the procession.

The military parade, which takes place in the morning on Papeete’s central Place Toata, is another well-liked event. Along with local police and firefighters, this march also includes members of the Gendarmerie and the French military services. The parade, which is marched through the streets to traditional Polynesian music, can be seen by visitors.

There are numerous additional events and activities to take part in on Bastille Day in addition to the parades and fireworks. Visitors can enjoy native cuisine and beverages, see traditional Polynesian dance performances, and browse the numerous stalls selling crafts and other mementos.

Heiva I Tahiti

In July and August, there is a celebration of traditional Polynesian culture called Heiva I Tahiti. Traditional dance performances, musical performances, and athletic competitions are among the events that make up the festival. Visitors can also partake in traditional Polynesian cuisine and crafts and watch natives engage in drumming and dancing competitions.

The traditional dance competition, which includes performances from dancers from all across French Polynesia, is one of the festival’s primary attractions. Live music is played while the dances are done in period attire. Visitors can observe the dancers as they execute complex movements and narrate stories with their dance.

The drumming competition, which uses native Polynesian drums and percussion instruments, is another well-liked event. A team of judges selects the winning drummer after a number of rounds in which the drummers compete against one another. As the drummers compete, spectators can enjoy the vivacious rhythms and beats.

At the Heiva I Tahiti, there are additional events to enjoy in addition to the dance and drumming competitions. Visitors can partake in traditional Polynesian cuisine and beverages as well as see traditional sporting events like stone lifting and spear throwing. Additionally, there are vendors offering crafts and other mementos.

people partyingPolynesian Dance Festival

Another well-known occasion that occurs in French Polynesia in August is the Polynesian Dance Festival. It includes both modern acts and traditional Polynesian dances, music, and costumes. Visitors can take in the vibrant and entertaining shows while also learning more about French Polynesia’s rich cultural heritage.

Various traditional dances, each with its own distinctive style and history, are performed during the festival. Visitors can watch dancers perform the hivinau, a Society Islands traditional dance, or the pa’o’a, a Marquesas Islands traditional dance. Live music, frequently played on vintage instruments like the ukulele and pahu drum, is played in the background as the dancers move.

The festival offers contemporary performances in addition to traditional ones, which combine traditional and modern aspects. Performing in hip-hop or contemporary genres while yet combining classic components like costumes and choreography, viewers can observe dancers.

Visitors can also take part in workshops and lessons at the festival where they can learn more about the dances and perhaps give them a try. It’s a wonderful chance for tourists to become fully immersed in the culture and learn more about the ancient dances and their meaning.

Heiva I Nuku Hiva

The Heiva I Nuku Hiva, a celebration of traditional Marquesan culture, is held annually on the Marquesas Islands and is open to everyone interested in history and culture. Traditional dances, music, and sporting events are all part of the festival, which takes place in August. The islands’ historic temples and stone carvings are also open to visitors’ exploration.

The traditional dance competition, which includes performances by dancers from the Marquesas Islands, is one of the festival’s primary attractions. Live music is played while the dances are done in period attire. Visitors may witness as the dancers display the distinctive culture of the Marquesas Islands through their elaborate movements and story-telling dance.

The sports tournament, which includes ancient Marquesan activities like stone lifting and spear throwing, is another well-liked event. Visitors can observe as locals engage in competition with one another to display their strength and talent.

At the Heiva I Nuku Hiva, there are more events to enjoy in addition to the dancing and sporting competitions. Visitors can take in traditional music performances, eat and drink like the Marquesans do, and explore the islands’ historic temples and stone carvings.

virgin maryFestival of the Virgin Mary

There are several religious holidays celebrated in French Polynesia in addition to these secular ones. The Festival of the Virgin Mary, which takes place in August on the island of Moorea, is one of the most significant. Visitors are welcome to participate in the festivities and can witness locals perform traditional dances and parades.

A religious procession through the streets of the island with statues of the Virgin Mary carried by people marks the start of the festival. The parade is accompanied by singing and music from the Polynesian culture. Visitors are welcome to participate in the festivities and the parade.

There are several events and activities to enjoy following the procession. Visitors can take in traditional dance performances, eat and drink at local establishments, and browse the numerous stalls selling crafts and other mementos.

To sum up, French Polynesia offers a wide range of festivals and activities all year long, allowing tourists to immerse themselves in the rich culture and history of the islands. There is something for everyone to enjoy, from secular traditions like the Festival of the Virgin Mary to religious holidays like Bastille Day and the Heiva I Tahiti. Visitors can fully immerse themselves in the culture, participate in customary dances and events, and have a greater understanding and respect of French Polynesia’s distinctive and complex culture.

Our Top FAQ's

Bastille Day is a national holiday in French Polynesia that commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, which marked the beginning of the French Revolution. It is celebrated with parades, fireworks, and traditional Polynesian dances, showcasing the island’s French heritage.

The Heiva i Tahiti is a celebration of traditional Polynesian culture that takes place in July and August. Visitors can expect to see events such as traditional dances, music, and sports competitions, as well as traditional Polynesian food and crafts. Visitors can also watch locals compete in traditional dance and drumming contests.

The Polynesian Dance Festival features traditional Polynesian dances such as the hivinau from the Society Islands and the pa’o’a from the Marquesas Islands. The dancers are accompanied by live music, often performed on traditional instruments such as the ukulele and the pahu drum.

The Festival of the Virgin Mary is a religious holiday celebrated in August on the island of Moorea. The festival begins with a religious procession, in which locals carry statues of the Virgin Mary through the streets of the island. The procession is accompanied by traditional Polynesian music and singing. Visitors can join in the procession and take part in the celebrations, showcasing the island’s Catholic heritage.

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