Culture and arts French Polynesia

Culture and arts French Polynesia

Mythology and beliefs

Great lovers of the land from the bottom of the large entities of the Polynesian area.
Other similar legends give birth to the different archipelagos, then to the islands themselves.

L & rsquoBora, including l & rsquobas!

Only one thing seems to West and East.

Archaeological and historical discoveries

The first started about 50 years ago.

Scathing at current, upwind, in the direction of the rising sun, they occupied C. by the Austronesian-speaking peoples, one of whose branches will spread as far as Madagascar!

In C., the Lapitas group reached Tonga and the Samoas where, in their wake, a culture in its own right was formed: the Polynesians were born. From these island strongholds, these unparalleled sailors, navigating the sea with the sole help of the stars, planets and their nocturnal movements, will conquer a territory larger than any other people in history.

In a few centuries600), d & rsquo650) and l & rsquo500). These conquests West that are explored 800), then New Zealand (around the year 1000). Other islands today deserted are inhabited, then abandoned.

Many specs what would explain the pre-Zealand. So, the Polynesian triangle is drawn, the largest cultural space ever shaped by one and the same people.

The Polynesian archipelago today

The archipelagos, s & rsquole-Vent (Society archipelago), on the occasion of major religious ceremonies. The ocean is not an obstacle here, but on the contrary a unifying factor.

Cultural renaissance

Polynesian arts

Polynesian arts, resulting from the traditions and social rules of yesteryear, are the same from one archipelago to another: dance, song et tattoo. The dance and the song, intimately linked, had (and still have to a certain extent) vocation to count the history of the ancestors, the migrations, the exploits of the disappeared heroes, the power of their mana, the beauty of the girls, the landscapes , the strength of the gods and the fear they inspire.

In the XNUMXth century, Captain Cook already described the timorodee (tamouré) and the way the Tahitians used to practice this "very indecent dance", while "singing very indecent songs" ... upa'upa Tahitian, practiced as a couple, which caused the most ink to flow: his movements were so obscene, according to the first missionaries, that they covered their eyes to see nothing! Banned by the colonial authorities and reduced to hiding, dance resurfaced in the 1960s with the awakening of Polynesian cultural awareness.

Dances and choreographies

Each archipelago has its own choreographies, sometimes very different, but which showcase two major concerns of past life: war, traditionally evoked by men by wide and jerky movements (as in the Tahitian ote'a), and the things of love, the domain of women and undulating and lascivious rhythms. We also find, as inaparima Tahitian or the Marquesan pig dance, themes linked to everyday life.

The tattoo

Primordial in the past, facts, allowing the status of each one, and especially of the leaders, to appear in the eyes of all.

From one place to another, the bodies were more or less ornate: complete in the Society Islands, the Austral Islands and the Cook Islands, the tattoo was even more impressive in the Marquesas, where it was imposed from the toes to the scalp. through the genitals, buttocks, eyelids and tongue… Women were mostly tattooed on the face, limbs and fingers.

The designs, often very elaborate, were mostly geometric and zoomorphic, alternating with solid parts. There are also particular motifs, such as those of prisoners of war, tattooed under the eyelids ... The tattoos were made using shark teeth or sharp bones, immersed in an ink drawn from the burning of the walnut of the bancoulier. .

- award ceremonies surrounding sessions lasted from several days to several weeks, as is always the case in Samoa. Prohibited by the missionaries, the practice almost disappeared. But, ironically, Cook's sailors, some of whom had been tattooed, exhibited their exotic trophies on their return, spreading fashion in the ports of Europe ...

The phenomenon, which reinforces the feeling of cultural belonging, has been undergoing a renaissance since the 1980s.

Parties and festivals

- The En En Dé Each year Bora.
- The first Sunday of December, in Tahiti, Tiare Day honors this flower inseparable from Polynesia.

See the cultural agenda of French Polynesia.


They are roughly the same as in France, with some local additions.

-             Christmas : 25 december.

Literature on Polynesia

- The Gospel of the Sun, by Alain Gerbault, Magellan Et Cie, 2016. Reissue of Alain Gerbault's cult book published in 1932, which traces the great navigator's travels in the Pacific Islands and his encounters with the natives. The opportunity for this ocean scraper to wonder about the harmful Europeanization of this part of the world, the preservation of civilizations and nature

- cult published in 1971 by Arthaud, which traces the extraordinary epic of a sailor who, on the verge of winning the first solo round the world race, decides not to return and to continue on his way to Tahiti. A remarkable performance, a real snub to civilization. A rare and precious book.

- there intact. In this first book, Victor Segalen paints the picture of an “ancient and strong society”, describes its festivals, its cult of enjoyment and its happy alliance with nature. This book, published for the first time in 1907 under a pseudonym, resonates today with all the more force as it allows us to measure its premonitory character.

- In the South Seas, Robert Louis Stevenson, Paperback, 2018 In 1888, Stevenson and his wife decided to set out to explore the South Seas. The trip will last 2 years, until they reach the Samoa Islands, where the author will die in 1894. Stevenson draws up a lucid account of these Pacific islands, as paradisiacal as they are dangerous, in the grip of the arrival impending colonialism.

- Hiva, from the Marquesas archipelago, and the people who live there. The author of Moby Dick testifies here to his meeting around 1843 with this people who were described as cannibals at the time and brushes, on the contrary, the table of nice, intelligent and cultivated hosts, thus recreating as a perfume of 'Eden.

- Libretto, 1984 Reissue of one of Jack London's greatest books published in 1911, featuring 8 short stories to evoke the devastation and violence imported by the white man into the "paradise" of the South Seas. Mind-blowing and radical. From greater London.

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