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Naghol: The Origin of Bungee Jumping in Pentecost Island, Vanuatu

Naghol: The Origin of Bungee Jumping in Pentecost Island, Vanuatu

WOE Media

If you’ve been to the world’s best bungee jumping sites, why not try to get to the sport’s birthplace? Go to Pentecost Island in Vanuatu and see how the men do it with their extreme sport that they call “naghol” which is also known as land diving.

Legend says that this jumping festival is about a woman who ran away from her abusive husband. She hid  behind a tree. The husband, who chased her, begged her to say sorry and return, warning her that he might beat her more. So the woman refused and climbed towards the top of the tree. Her husband followed and when he almost reached the top, the woman jumped. The man jumped after her but he realized that his wife tied vines around her ankles that made her survive the jump. The man on the other hand, was unlucky and died from the fall.

From this legend, the men of Vanuatu nowadays jump from towers to show women that they can’t be tricked again. They tie vines around their ankles and jump off the tall wooden towers that can reach up to 20-30 meters.

They do naghol on Saturdays between April and June every year. On every jump, they make sure that they’ll touch the ground to ensure a good yam harvest for the following year. Moreover, the ritual is also done to show a male’s acceptance into manhood and fertility.

Land divings are done on a giant bungee tower with five levels made out of native wood, tied securely with ropes out of liana vines. It is situated on a slight slope and the ground on the front is freshly-tilled to help break the fall of the jumpers.

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