Matarii i raro

The season of frugality

Matarii i raroIn the past, a calendar year in French Polynesia was divided in two seasons marked by two dates :
– November the 20th was the beginning of abundance season, Matarii i ni’a
– May the 20th was the beginning of season of frugality, Matarii i raro.

These two seasons have always been decisive moments in Polynesian life. It is for this reason that Polynesians celebrate the arrival of the Matarii i raro, a new season of abstinence.

As we have done in the past, the day of celebration is chosen according to the astronomical calendar : it is the coinciding of the sunset and the constellation Pleiades on the horizon. Notably, Polynesians have always given great importance to the stars and their association to life, abundance and fertility.

As like the Matarii i ni’a several months ago, Matarii i raro is the occasion for Polynesians to celebrate their gods during rituals of offering, singing and dancing to the rhythm of traditional toere (tahitian drum). This celebration marks the end of the humid season that was propitious for agriculture, hunting and fishing. It is meant to be in preparation for a new abstinence or frugality cycle. In the past, the objective of this cycle was to allow nature time to recover and restore itself. For instance, access was forbidden to valleys and sea areas as an off season to give nature a chance to rest.

Today, we can note that Polynesians are not deprived by this season of frugality. With the arrival of international trade, they continue to celebrate it as a reminder to the new generation of the importance of balance in life.

This year the Pleiades festivities will take place in Papenoo on May 14th.

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