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Daredevils of Vanuatu

The Naghol festival on Pentecost Island, Vanuatu, is a series of events held in April and May, when the local species of liana plant has enough elasticity to be able to support the weight of an adult man. Following an ancient ritual, the islanders built bamboo tower with several platforms on different levels, from where young men dive head-down with the vines attached to their feet. The sport is believed to be the precursor of modern bungee jumping. The diving ceremony may be related to some agricultural rituals, as it coincides with the yam harvest, or to the initiation of male youth into adulthood. The jumpers usually hit the ground with their heads, but the meticulously measured vines wrapped around their ankles make the thump usually harmless. Before the jump, the participants seek reconciliation with family and friends in case they die, but, thankfully, such a misfortune happened only once in modern times. The people in the pictures come from Rangusuksuk village, and the tower is exceptionally high, reaching 35 metres above the ground.


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