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pentecost, more than land diving

CLICK TO GET THE MAPPentecost was first seen by Europeans on Whit Sunday, hence its name. People live mostly in the highland centre or along the west coast, split into three groups: Anglican in the north, Catholic in the centre, and Church of Christ in the south. French settlers brought Catholicism to southern and central Pentecost, while the Anglicans soon dominated the north. The Danielite movement formed in 1931, its leader, Daniel Tambe, calling for the abandonment of traditional customs, so the islanders could rule over Europeans. One follower predicted war and huge numbers joined when WWII broke out, but the movement soon withered.

One of the main attractions of Vanuatu is an annual event that takes place on Pentecost Island each Saturday between April and June. A legend sparked the tradition of 'land-diving', where young men test their mettle by launching themselves from towers constructed of branches, tied by vines at the ankles, and plunge towards the ground. It is the original form of 'bungee jumping' and although visitors cannot participate, the spectacle is awesome.

Most of Pentecost's population is concentrated in the north and along the west coast. Kava and aelan taro are two main cash crops. Most Pentecost men are dedicated kava drinkers and it's kastom for visitors staying in a village to drink a few shells in the nakamal.

Pentecost is a long island and a good plan for touring the island is to purchase an 'open-jaw' ticket and travel between the Lonorore and Sara airfields by land, finding accommodation en-route. Pentecost has regular shipping services that could be useful for island hopping and connecting to Santo.