The Tahiti Traveler

La Journée du Tiare

Celebrating our national flower

Every year in December, Polynesians celebrate, the Tiare Tahiti. This Polynesian flower has become a true national emblem of our islands. A prime example is the logo used by flag-carrier Air Tahiti Nui airline. This year marks the 51st celebration of the Tiare. The first event took place in 1962. Originally, it was just a ball organized by the association “Groupement de Solidarité des Femmes de Tahiti”. The theme was chosen arbitrarily as the “Tiare Tahiti”. Since then, the theme remained and the dance was replaced by an annual celebration.

The Tiare Tahiti is a white flower with incomparable perfume and 5 to 8 petals. This flower, endemic to the South Pacific Islands enjoys an annual blooming, usually in full bloom in the afternoons displaying its beauty and fragrance. It is present in the daily life of Polynesians as a natural ornament often worn behind the ear by both men and women or as a traditional flower lei. For visitors who arrive for the first time and for locals visiting other islands, the Tiare flower will be the first welcome gift that you will receive upon your arrival. This flower is also an important ingredient in the famous “Monoï de Tahiti” – traditional scented oil. Moreover, the Tiare is sometimes used as a folk remedy for its therapeutic benefits. One can say that the Tiare flower is very much a part of Polynesian heritage.

During the 6th and 7th of December, people rediscover the beauty and fragrance of this small white flower. The Tiare celebration schedules various events: demonstrations of traditional Monoï making, cooking demonstrations and Tiare cocktail tastings… The event is a beautiful opportunity to admire a large range of floral creations as head wreaths, necklaces or dresses made by local artists. It is also an opportunity for all major local companies to participate to a large flower decoration competition. For this window dressing contest, the only requirement is the use of Tiare and local flowers. The “Journée du Tiare” concludes with a parade and a dance show.

With these festivities, the fragrance of the Tiare and beauty of our national flower is in the air and definitely a celebration not to miss.