Polynesia: Maupiti + Rangiroa + Moorea - October 2012
Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text:
These words are already a journey. Before discover Polynesia in 2012I thought it was mostly folklore for tourists in search of exoticism. Not at all. They are really strong cultural symbols, anchored in the daily life of Polynesians.
The omnipresent tiare flower
The Tahiti tiareIt is the emblem of French Polynesia! Men and women wear the flower on their ears (in bud for the former, in corolla for the latter) and it is customary to do the same during a stay in Tahiti and its islands. It is quite normal! It smells wonderful and the perfume of the flower necklace that is placed around your neck upon arrival is unforgettable. Good to know: the flower in the left ear means that your heart is already taken, in the right ear that you are available...
Monoi and its sweet fragrance
I didn't know, before I brought a bottle home to Brittany, that this sweet-smelling oil would freeze below about twenty degrees... But you just have to put it under hot water to make it liquid again and this has no effect on its conservation. Monoi is obtained by macerating tiare flowers in refined copra (coconut) oil. It is not necessary to use it before going out in the sun, but on the contrary to use it afterwards, as the Polynesian women do, to moisturize the skin and nourish the hair.
I do not think I crossed a Polynesian without tattoos, during my trip there in 2012 ! Banished by the Western missionaries who landed in the Pacific at the end of the 18th century, a little "forgotten" until recently, the tatau has now become very popular again. This tradition used to have a sacred and social dimension, it was a sign of prestige - warriors and chiefs wearing the most elaborate ones. Today, Polynesian tattoos are truly a symbol of identity.
The essential pareo
This brightly colored piece of fabric is worn as a loincloth by men and tied in a thousand clever ways by women. Indispensable! In the islands, the pareo is the perfect beachwear, adopted by tourists from all over the world. On vacation, I always have several with me. It remains the emblem of the wahine, the Polynesian woman, and it is often found in the paintings of Paul Gauguin.