Saturday, March 13, 2010

Yap Day 2010

We celebrated our first Yap Day on March 1 and 2.  The site was located in Tomil, a village North of Colonia.  We headed there with open minds and lots of space on our camera’s memory cards.  We arrived in the late morning and found a shady spot to park ourselves with our friends.  The day was filled with different dances and “educational activities” that consisted of many cultural demonstrations by children and teens mostly, including rope making, spear throwing, and juggling.  We saw several women’s sitting dances that were amazing as this was our first exposure to them. 

There were booths set up selling food and a few handicrafts, though sadly no carved wooden canoes as we were hoping for. Some were made of local resources, but tarps and metal pole style shelters were present (but not as photogenic!).


In the middle of the site were a men’s house and community house. The dances and activities were held in between the two houses.  Here is the men’s house:



We were provided a glimpse into the Yapese culture during the sitting dances preformed by women and girls.  The chanting and clapping is like nothing we have seen before. The dancers are covered in turmeric giving them the yellowish glow.

Here we see the women lined up waiting to begin the dance:


A Women’s sitting dance is indeed done sitting down:


Our shady spot proved to be benefital as it also was very close to the staging area for dancers, providing many photo ops:



The two youngest dancers waiting their turn patiently:


Many of the locals were dressed in traditional clothing including these grass skirts, lava lavas (a knee length skirt similar to a sarong), and the men and boys in many styles of the thu- a loin cloth that is wrapped and tied differently depending on age, the boys being more revealing. As the men age they are allowed to cover up a little more! Here are some great pictures of thus:


The men also tie in hibiscus leaves. The straw hat is optional.


Honestly much of the day was hiding in the shade unsuccessfully trying to avoid sun burn (yes Mom we did wear sunscreen!) hanging with the gang, having an acorn war with some boys sitting near us, and staying errr.. hydrated.


Though this post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the incredible pork on a stick we tried.  Words cannot describe the tastiness of local pork barbequed on a skewer, like the most flavorful bacon you can dream of.  Mike liked it so much we had to get a picture of his fifth one!


The day continued with some more “hydrating” and a late dinner at Oasis.  All in all, Yap day was good times and good people with an amazing backdrop of culture and color.


  1. Hi Miranda,

    These photos and posts are amazing! My colleague Sue met with your mother who shared your blog and news of your move to Micronesia with us. I would love to profile you on the alumnae monthly eNewsletter. Would you have some time to answer some questions via email?

    Thank you so much!

    Michelle Yang
    Alumnae Relations Manager
    Girl Scouts of Western Washington

  2. Hi Mike and Miranda,
    My name is Keola and I am a graduate student at the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. I am currently working on a video project that addresses health issues for Micronesians and would very much like to use your photo of the Yapese dancers in my film. May I please have your permission to do so? This project is part of my thesis portfolio and would greatly appreciate it. I hope that when completed, it will help the Micronesian community here in Hawaii.

    Keola Diaz