Sunday, August 12, 2007

Friday Night with Jon Frum

Tanna Island, Vanuatu

Jon Frum Village

After our evening visit to the volcano we headed for a Jon Frum Cargo Cult village. Friday night is as sacred to Jon Frum followers as a Sunday seems to be to Christians. The village focal point was a large open sided hut lighted with the glow of a single kerosene lantern with the balance of the village in complete darkness. The blackness of the darkness of the night quickly swallowed the soft melodious song accompanied by lightly strummed guitars. In the shadows just outside the reaches of the lantern light women danced reverently in a trance like state as grass skirts swished about their knees. Outside of the diminutive yellow light cast by the solo lantern one could just make out the women adorned with intricately dyed brightly colored grass skirts of pink, yellow green and purple. Song after song with similar melodies and unknown lyrics set those of us observing into a mild state of hypnosis. I could barley keep my eyes open after a half dozen songs and after a dozen or so dozed off a bit as we sat comfortably on grass mats within the central hut. After a few hours we slipped quietly away, eventhough we understand the singing and dancing continues until morning light. One quickly recognized that this was not a "Show or Performance", but an opportunity to observe the most sacred worship of the Jon Frum Cargo Cultists.

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