Wagosia Festival 2024: A Celebration of Tradition and Renewal

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WITH its rich historical customs and cultural heritage exhibit, the Wagosia Festival 2024 is regarded as a sacred cultural event in the isolated eastern region of Makira/Ulawa province on Santa Catalina Island. Locals refer to this area as Aorigi. It has drawn tourists from both domestic and foreign locations.

Wagosia Festival involves spear fighting and yam harvesting, attracting locals and visitors to participate in chants and ancestral tales.

David Faerua, an Island elder, told TOURISM MEDIA that male children are reviving old traditions by blowing conch shells and chanting ancient phrases, bringing joy and pride to the community.

David Faerua, an elder from Santa Catalina. Photo credit @ Brian D Rau

He expressed satisfaction with young people preserving traditional practices, including the Wagosia Festival, which serves religious, cultural, and social purposes.

According to Faerua, the festival’s activities are deeply rooted in the community’s traditions and are essential for cultural renewal and fertility. Held annually in the last week of May or the first week of June, the timing of the festival depends on the lunar calendar and the yam harvest season.

“One of the festival’s most deep aspects is the passing of the Spirit of Wagosia to the younger generations, ensuring the continuity of this ancient cultural heritage.

Photo credit @ Brian D Rau

“The festival is a lively demonstration of the continuing legacy of the Aorigi people, bringing together the community in a celebration of their shared history and traditions.

Photo credit @ Brian D Rau

“As the 2024 festival drew to a close, it left a permanent mark on all who attended, reinforcing the importance of preserving and honoring the rich cultural tapestries that define the Aorigi’s ancient customs and cultural identity,” the island elder said.

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