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Leap of Faith – Pentecost Island

land-diving

Land diving takes place after the wet season, so that the vines will be waterlogged to maximize their elasticity and strength

Before bungee jumping, there was a scarier sport. A daredevil diving ritual called Naghol has been a tradition for centuries on Pentecost Island in the South Pacific. Local men risk life and limb to throw themselves from dizzy heights with only a jungle vine around their ankles.

Land diving was first performed from treetops, but now fragile towers have been constructed. Before the jump, men and women chant and dance until one man climbs the tower, where vines are attached to his ankles. The diver jumps headfirst, dropping to the round at speed. Locals believe that the braver the divers are, the more bountiful the yam harvest will be.

Lucky Escape

The land diving ritual stems from a legend of an unhappy marriage, in which a woman was running through the jungle desperate to escape her pesky husband. She climbed a tree with him hot on her heels, tied a vine to her ankle, and jumped. She landed safely, but her husband did not secure himself, and did not survive the jump.

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