Yap Day

March 1st and 2nd is Yap Day, the island's day to celebrate everything Yap - culture, tradition, food, family, community... and scuba diving.

It's the most colorful day of the year with traditional dances, crafts, tatoos, competitions and demonstrations in ceremonial dress.

Yap Day Traditional Children's Sitting Dance, Yap Island Micronesia

 

Yapese children begin learning traditional dance at 5 years old and practice regularly with their village.

During Yap Day, villages compete. Dances, coconut husking / grading, betel nut tree climbing and weaving are a few of the traditional contests.

Demonstrations include traditional canoe building, rope making, net tying, bamboo raft making as well as grass skirt, kafar, basket and fan weaving.

In one day you can learn a lot about Yap culture, history, people, learn some interesting facts about stone money, eat and drink local food, take plenty of photos, buy traditional craft souvenirs.

Yapese Women's Bamboo Dance - Yap Day 2013 Micronesia

Traditional and cultural presentations...

Stone Money is carried into the festival by the Men, as it was thousands of years ago, while the M.C. explains the value and history of it. Men carried stones like this that weighed more than 2,000 lbs.

Traditional Stone Money Carry

Traditional Stone Money Carry Stone Money is priceless, even today. The value of each piece comes from it's journey to Yap.

Miners would sail to Palau, spend years mining and carving the limestone then return with it on specially made bamboo rafts.

It was said that out of 50+ miners, only 5 would return safely. The more difficult the journey, the more lives lost, the more valuable the stone.

Traditional Canoe Building at Yap DayTraditional Canoe building, rope making and net tying are a few more things that you'll find the Men presenting.

A traditional Yapese sailing canoe is constructed from hand-carved boards that are sewn together.

As you walk around the presentations, you can sit down, ask questions, participate and learn about Yapese history and ingenuity.

Coconut husk rope makingFishing Net Tying

 

Village Competitions...

Yap Day Coconut Husking Competition

Yap Day Coconut Husking CompetitionCoconut husking and grading is performed by Yap boys as well as the Men from competing villages.

Each year the villages from either the north or south compete - the non competing villages are responsible for traditional construction of the festival and spectator areas.

Probably one of the most impressive traditional demonstrations is the Betel Nut tree climb race with two classes of entrants, local and foreigner.

Betel Nut Tree Climbing Contest at Yap Day

The fastest climbers on the island compete in teams in a relay race up and down tree trunks.

Climbers can choose their climbing style, either using a rope around their feet to help grib the small tree trunk, or not.

They come down the tree like firemen during an alarm drill.

Betel Nut Tree Climbing Race on Yap Day

If you wanted to, you could compete in this event in a special class for spectators - after some instruction of course. Participation is welcome on Yap Day.

Local Food...

Yap Day Local Food Presenattion

In one buffet line, you can try all of Yap's local food - vegetables, fruit, fish, shellfish, pork and chicken dishes prepared and served traditionally by the Women. This is free, however donations are accepted.

Yap Day Local Food PresenattionYap Day Local Food Presenattion

Yap Day Local Food PresenattionYap Day Local Food Presenattion

Art, Crafts, Clothing and More...

Yap Women's Association Yap Day Booth

Traditional clothing, ceremonial dress, jewelry, art and crafts are presented and available to purchase from the Yap Women's Association as well as from participating schools and families.

Yapese Woeven Baskets

Yap Women Preparing CoconutsYap Women Making Grass Skirts Traditional Dances

Women's Bamboo Dance on Yap Day

Women's Bamboo Dance on Yap DayThroughout the day and afternoon there are a number of traditional dances.

Dances are performed in ceremonial attire either standing or sitting.

During the festivities you are welcome to walk around, get up close and fill your SD card with colorful Yapese culture.

Shown here is the Women's bamboo dance.

Women's Bamboo Dance on Yap Day

Yap Day with yap divers...

This is a unique day, even without the scuba diving. Yap is where you can have an arm's distance encounter with a Giant Pacific Manta Ray or a ride the current along the reef wall in clear blue water before experiencing ancient culture, traditional presentations and healhty local food.

Yap Divers Guests at Yap Day FestivalDiving and Culture - all in a morning. Your dive schedule is broken up so that you don't miss the celebration.

Pick a dive - Mantas, Sharks, Blue Water Outer Reef, Channel Drifting or Macro.

Your day starts with exactly what you want to see in the water and you have the same opportunity on your second tank after the Yap Day festival.

Yap Manta Ray

 

Yap Outer Reef Diving Macro Diving in Yap

 

 

Email bill@mantaray.com for free travel and flight help