Pacific ocean: Megalits / Marae Tahiti

PHOTO: CADEAC BERNARD 1745'28.56" 14922'0.36"

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In Paea, 15 miles from Papeete, the marae Arahurahu takes us into the mystery of the ancestral customs of the South Pacific French Polynesia. This outdoors sanctuary where religious ceremonies took place has a legend. It is said that a warrior was cremated in these places and that the arii, supreme chief of the valley, placed his ashes (arahu) in this marae. During your visit, you may meet the tupaupau (the ghost) of this warrior. The marae is made of a sacred quadrangular shaped enclosure. Two smaller walls made of oval and regular size stones that have been carefully aligned form its walls. A heap of pebbles and ground between both walls gives to the sanctuary its massive appearance. Flat stones pave the inside of the sacred enclosure. The altar on one side of the enclosure is the most sacred part and the unu (wooden sculptures) replace raised stones that represented the ancestors. There are in the French Polynesia, two categories of marae. The national marae which belonged to the supreme chief and where took place the human sacrifices and the ancestral marae built on the lands of large families who had ancestors in common. Restored in 1954, Marae Arahurahu represents a national marae and possesses almost all the necessary elements to the celebration of an ancient cult.


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