Mar 27, 2013

Easter Island (Chile)

Easter Day is next Sunday, and, as I think I won't post again until then, I believe it's an excellent occasion to talk about the very curious Easter Island flag, and try to answer why it hasn't a moai.

The Easter Island is a province of Chile, located in Valparaíso region, constituted by a single namesake commune. The flag of Easter Island is, actually, the flag of rapanui people, although it's widely flown as unofficial flag of both the commune and the province. See it:
















Surely no moais. It represents a reimiro, a pectoral ornament whose formant remembers a crescent moon with two characteristic human faces on each extremity or a ship with their own figureheads (reimiros in other shapes also existed). Its meaning and use is unknown, although it possibly was only use by noble women on ceremonial occasions or rituals. It represents, therefore, nobility and authority.

Between 1876 and 1888, this flag was used instead:



















The difference in this flag are the four manutaras (Onychoprion lunatus, or spectacled terns), birds with an important role on local mythology.

And why not the moais? To explain it, we should explain the political context where the moai were created. The island inhabitants were divided in two classes: the "long-ears" (the nobles) and the "short-ears" (the commons). Moais were probably made to satisfy the ancestors of the "long-ears"; to made them, the "long-ears" enslaved (yes, it's the correct word) the "short-ears". In the end, during a rebellion, all "long-ears" were killed. And it's the main reason of because the moais are absent of the flags: they are symbol of a shameful past of slavery and oppression, according to the theory of Ron Fischer on its work "Easter Island Brooding Sentinels of Stone".

Happy Easter to all! Feel free to add a comment!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Every comment is greatly welcome!