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In Tahitian, the word Heiva (hei meaning to assemble, and va meaning community places) refers to activities, pastimes, physical exercise, and festivals. Music, dancing, singing and sporting events have always held an important place in Polynesian communities. In ancient times, they were essential components of religious and political ceremonies. Dance was one of the most sophisticated and ritualized art forms performed in groups or individually.
In the 19th Century, Christian missionaries condemned these demonstrations that were described as an erotic form of debauchery. In 1819, King Pomare II legally forbade the practice. At that time, after being banished from public areas, dancing became a clandestine practice for the people.
In 1881, after a long struggle with England and Protestant missionaries, France annexed a large part of what is today French Polynesia. Bastille Day, France’s national holiday celebrated on July 14th, became symbolic for the Polynesians. On this one-day, France allowed sports and dancing in an effort to overcome the Anglo-Saxon influence and to satisfy Polynesians’ taste for festivities.
Traditional dance made a resurgence in 1881 after being severely restricted for several decades. That year, the first Heiva I Tahiti was organized and named Tiurai, meaning “July the month of festivities.”
In 1977, French Polynesia gained greater political autonomy from France. This political and cultural emancipation led authorities to organize the Heiva I Tahiti in June 1985, which replaced the public holiday festival of the Tiurai.
More than just a simple festival, Heiva I Tahiti has become the symbol of the Polynesian culture and an iconic event for a people proud of their heritage.
These performances highlight the drama of an opera and the distinct imprints of an ancestral tradition. The dances are unique creations, for which the dancers train for six months or more. Text music, choreography and costumes are based on a historical or legendary theme.
Live music and singing accompany the dancers. The orchestras are made up of five to fifty musicians using traditional instruments such as the nasal flute or “vivo,” made from a portion of bamboo, marine shells or “pu,” and more recently, the ukulele, a small Hawaiian guitar with soft tones.
The traditional singing competition accounts for another powerful portion of the Heiva I Tahiti. The melodies include a cappella in “reo ma’ohi” (Polynesian language), which express moments of joy and melancholy.
Since its creation, the Heiva I Tahiti, has also been a showcase for traditional sports and games. The traditional sporting events are based on ancient athletic activities and include; a stone lifting competition, a javelin- throwing event, outrigger canoe races, a copra competition, and a fruit carrying competition.
Earlier in the week, my daughter in law asked me what my favorite Disney hotel “smell” was? I was like, huh?? What does that even mean? She said, “you know, which resort smells the best to you?” To be honest I had never thought about that before.
Then I had to put on my thinking cap and go back in my memory and see if I could think of any specific smells at the resorts. The first thing that came to mind was The Wilderness Lodge because I love it so….but I wasn’t really sure I could put a particular smell with it. Then my next thought, and this was my “final” answer to her, was the Grand Floridian because they are constantly changing out the flower arrangements and sprucing everything up. The Lobby there is stunning and always changing. It’s totally old world Victorian charm. I’ll admit, it’s not my favorite resort to spend a week in, but in terms of beauty, it takes the cake.
Another resort that I thought of was The Beach Club, where they also have some over the top floral arrangements. Another thing that you can find and “smell” at the Beach Club Resort is Beaches and Cream ice cream parlor – now there’s a smell that will tempt your senses. Not only do they have tons of desserts to die for, they also have a pretty amazing assortment of savory dishes that will make you lick your lips….from hot dogs to nachos to burgers and everything in between.
As you leave the resorts and head to the parks you will be bombarded with lots more smells that will tickle your fancy. Have you ever been to a county fair and smelled the scent of turkey legs in the air? Disney has those! Or maybe funnel cakes and cotton candy? They have those too! Disney Parks have so many amazing edibles that you will be blown away. There’s even a Starbucks on Main Street at the Magic Kingdom! (for you addicts out there) I dare you to try to find a cuisine that you love that Disney does not have available somewhere on property. For instance, at EPCOT World Showcase there are so many countries represented that it would take you most of a day to visit every one of them, much less trying to taste all the different foods that are offered at each one. Wouldn’t it be fun to try though?
Bottom line is, if you have a keen sense of smell and adventure – Disney Parks are the place for you! There is never a dull moment, meal or snack at Disney properties. Bon appetit!
By Renee Martin
But why? What’s the big deal?
First of all, it’s the coolest, most “futuristic” thing at Disney World! You’ll feel like you’re being swept off to the future of travel. What kid doesn’t like riding in a spaceship!?
There are 3 resorts on the Monorail Loop – the Contemporary, The Polynesian and the Grand Floridian. All three have very different themes, but are sure to please everyone in your group.
The Contemporary, is as it sounds – quite modern. It offers some of the bigger rooms at Disney World because it was built early, back in times when hotels offered larger space for families. The main building, the Atrium has rooms that overlook either Bay Lake or Seven Seas Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom. It is a giant A-frame building with a big breezeway that the monorail glides through. The Contemporary is the first Disney resort I stayed at as a child, so it will always have fond memories for me as one of my favorites. They’ve added on several “wings” in the last decades, including Bay Lake Tower, which is a Disney Vacation property that adjoins the Contemporary by a sky bridge.
The Grand Floridian is a huge Victorian-style resort and spa, that faces Seven Seas Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom. It has great views of the fireworks and the Electrical Light Parade out on the water. It also offers several fine dining restaurants, including Victoria & Albert’s, which offers a 7-course dinner menu for guests over 10 years old. The Grand Floridian also has a Wedding Chapel available along with several different wedding packages to choose from, and they will do everything for you!
The last resort on the monorail loop is the Polynesian. It is themed just as it sounds, and also overlooks the Seven Seas Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom. You have a great view of the fireworks and the Electrical Light Parade too. To me though, the best thing about the Polynesian, is the restaurants! O’hana, is a family style feast! The food is delicious and the dessert is the best banana bread pudding you’ve ever tasted! Next door to O’hana is Kona Café, which serves sushi and other Polynesian type cuisine along with a delicious bread with a soft, whipped macadamia butter.
No matter which resort you choose, the monorail is the most exciting form of transportation at Disney World and it will make you feel as if you are way ahead of your time.
Please be advised that we are launching our new Over the Water Bungalows for sale at Sandals South Coast this Thursday, May 4, for arrivals beginning November 1, 2017.
These spectacular over-the-water bungalows offer an unmatched connection to the Caribbean Sea and deliver complete immersion with fine turquoise waters and rich marine life below. Every bungalow captures the height of luxury with hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings, custom crafted king-size beds adorned with soft linens and plush pillows for the ultimate sleep experience. Each bungalow is also equipped with a smart TV and a large ceiling fan to stay cool while enjoying fresh Caribbean breezes. The spa style bathrooms are equipped with his and hers sinks, a large backlit mirror adorned with mosaic tile, and a walk-in rain shower. Outside, your private patio is equipped with an extended sun deck, outdoor shower, sun loungers, and a bistro set for two. Couples can also admire the beauty of the ocean from their private outdoor Tranquility Soaking Tub for two or over-water hammocks. Inside, glass floor panels and lit water ensure you can enjoy undersea views any time. These bungalows also boast Butler Elite service, which handles every detail of your vacation with unobtrusive grace, and 24 hour room service to complete your over-water vacation.
Bungalow guests will also receive the following additional inclusions:
– Exclusive in-room dining and room service menu
– Personal airport greeting
– Expedited immigration
– Private luxury transfers
– Welcome gift, including branded tote and towel set
– Molton Brown bathroom amenities
Contact us for pricing. You are welcome to call us at 281-377-3488 or fill out the form below: