Tapati Rapa Nui literally means “Rapa Nui Week” in the local language, but under that name a series of unique events take place to constitute the most important cultural festival of Easter Island and one of the most important in all Polynesia.
The Tapati festival is celebrated every year during the first half of February, so the original concept that gave it its name has extended one more week. The Tapati Rapa Nui, which was born more than 40 years ago and had its origins in the ancient “spring festivities” that were celebrated in Chile, has been transformed over time to become a tribute to the ancestral traditions of the Rapanui people, and on a unique occasion to relive, share and preserve the cultural identity of this fascinating corner of the planet.
The ultimate reason for the celebration is the election of the queen of the Tapati. Two candidates for the title are presented and will be supported by their families, friends and visitors. Each group forms an alliance that will face the other through a series of tests and competitions, evoking the rivalries between the old clans that ruled the island. The group that obtains the most points will get for its representative the symbolic right to reign on the island for the rest of the year.
Participation in the Tapati Festival is massive on the part of the inhabitants of the island, everyone gets involved with pride and enthusiasm and many invest their time, money and energy preparing and rehearsing throughout the year. That passion for their party is spread to the visitor who is invited to participate supporting one of the groups, living a unique and unforgettable experience.
This festival is celebrated during the austral summer and coincides with the high season of the southern hemisphere, so the number of travelers and tourists arriving on the island is multiplied significantly, compared to the small contingent that visits it the rest of the year . Therefore it is advisable to book the flight and accommodation several months in advance if you want to get availability and good prices.