Micronesia, Yap Days, Tomil



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Municipality and village hosted Yap Days 2014. The 46th Annual Cultural Event by and for the Yapese people.

Out Island Girls

Marie, Alicia and Leslie distinguished themselves as "out island" girls by wearing their hand woven lavalavas

Alfredo's Gecko

liked Lisa from Lorelei better than Alfredo but quickly became bored of entertaining us

Stone Money Arrives

Wa'ab Island is known as the Island of Stone Money. Quarried in Palau and brought over the years to Wa'ab, these gems are still exchanged and are of value to the Yapese people.

Yapese Traditional Shell Money

This shell money was spread out on a table for all to inspect "but please don't touch!".

Yap Days

was for all villages and municipalities to share their traditions and to keep them alive for their children

Preparing for competition

These young girls gathered under cover and prepared for the weaving competition.

Yapese Grass Skirts

are traditional garb which is worn in villages as dictated by the elders

The Children of Yap

particularly intrigued us with their lovely features. Every child if playful while waiting was sober and serious about competitions. This young girl is part of a women's sitting dance.


is creeping into even the most remote villages. This tablet computer seems out of place in the hands of this traditionally dressed young woman.


is suggested in the face of this little beauty

The Gorgeous

hair, often oiled with coconut oil, shone brightly this day


There were literally dozens of variations of thu, or loincloth, worn by men during the festival, dependent upon status, age, village, etc.

Mother and daughter

Note that they have the same type and color grass skirt but the woman has special cord that only is worn after coming of age and is meant as a sign of respect.


This fellow appeared to be in charge and directed the singers and dancers.

Yap Days may be traditional but...

It seems somewhat incongruous to see someone dressed so traditionally yet checking for cell phone messages.

Won't smile

We've been told that some parents tell their children they will be kidnapped by white people if they don't behave. It's no wonder some children fix us with a wary eye.

Big Sister's Help

didn't seem to make a difference in her crankiness.

Dancer's Costumes

This photo gives an idea of the elaborateness of the colorful costoms worn by the participants.

Getting seated for the sitting dances

always involved a lot of fidgeting and adjustment until the dancer assumed a comfortable position.

Hands to the sky

The yellow fronds tied to each dancers' arm make the gestures more dramatic.


A particular individual would beginning a song without any discernable signal from anyone else and the rest of the dancers would join at the same time.

Sitting Dances

started out with dancers lined up. A chief would walk the line and, though we could hear no instructions or see hand movements, dancers chosen would take their positions on the ground.

Tough to concentrate

Dancers of age 3 or 4 had a difficult time concentrating some time.

Hand Movements

It was fascinating to watch the coordination of the dancers.

Dark Beauty

This girl was considerably darker complected than her companions. That and the brightness and color of her costume made her a very pleasing photo subject.

Weaving competition

Each girl was given a palm frond and then competed with her neighbors to see which one would be the fastest to weave an acceptable basket. Took about 5 minutes for the winner.

Solitary dancer...

waiting to perform.

Competitor and coach

Each weaver had a coach, probably her mother, ready to offer advice and make sure weaving supplies were readily at hand.

Concentrating hard...

on the finished product.

Fast and furious

It was interesting to observe the speed of the weaving and it had to be very tough on each girl's hands.

The winner

This girl finished about one minute ahead of her nearest competitor.

Bamboo Dancing

The finale of the dances found many of the bamboo sticks shattered and in pieces due to the exuberance of the dancers.

Total Coordination

The dancers, both men and women, showed an astounding skill for timing, intricate moves and stamina. Note the dancer at center jumping high into the air.

Bamboo Sticks

Throughout the dancing, we heard no one out of step with their partners; bamboo sticks always clashed at the same time.

Sticks and Skirts

The female dancer's skirts would swirl seductively as the dancers' sticks clashed together.

Dances Were Necessarily Short

since it took so much energy and concentration. Dancers were left panting and gasping after each dance.

Dancing in the Dark

The dancing continued well after it got dark making it difficult to photo.

In the noonday sun,

these dancers get ready to perform.

Getting ready

It took a while for dancers to adjust their costumes after each dance and to get ready for the next.

Traditional canoe in foreground

as dancers line up in front of the men's house.


were elaborate and took a long time to fit.

Heads down

and waiting for the next set.

Yap men through the ages

Starting out with the young boy at right to the old man at left.

Yap women throught the ages

The costume of the girl third from right depicts a maid coming of age.


This type of tatoo was supposed to show what the men of the upper class would wear.

More tatoos

This warrior sports dense black tatoos on his legs depicting his class.

Women tatooed also

Notice the elaborate tatoos on her hands indicating her status in her clan.

Tiny girl dancer

Dancers' ages ranged from the very young to middle-aged.

Sitting dance

A close up of one of the performers.

Young boy dancer

This particular boy showed extraordinary skill for one so young.

Bamboo dancing

This group was from Fanif municipality and this was the second time we got to see this dance.

Bamboo dancing

This dance was being "hung up" for five years so the dancers seemed to be particularly enthusiastic about making it a grand "finale".

Bamboo dancing

The dance always ended with loud yells and impressively fierce clashes of the bamboo sticks. These women and girls had mastered the art of wiggling their skirts rapidly as they danced. It must take a long time to build up the stomach muscles to do it so well and it was clear it was stenuous exercise.