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Your Complete Guide to Heiva I Tahiti

Traditional dancing in Tahiti

Posted by on 01 Nov 2019 , in Islands

What it is

Heiva is a Tahitian tradition that celebrates life. The word “hei” means to assemble while “va” means community places. It refers to various activities, pastimes, exercise and festivals. Dancing is the most common art form performed during the event. During this time, young male and female dancers begin performing to the rhythm of bass drums. This event brings together Polynesians every year with one aim: to make Heiva a unique and magnificent event.

Heiva used to be a forbidden dance during the 19th century when the first English missionaries believed that these demonstrations are an erotic form of debauchery and eventually became illegal. Finally, in 1985, French Polynesia gained political autonomy from France and this is when they started organizing Heiva.

When to go

The Heiva Tahiti Festival is celebrated during the month of July, coinciding with France’s Bastille Day.

The Heiva Experience

For 6 months, dancers train and their costumes are created using handcrafted materials. Music and choreography are prepared based on historical or legendary themes as well. There are also sporting events such as stone lifting competitions, javelin throwing and canoe races.

During the summer months, why not check out for fun and exciting events? See you there!

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