John Frum Day

February 15th. Here in the United States it's a day like any other day, but on the other side of the world there's an island named Tanna in the nation of Vanuatu, and there February 15th is a holiday. John Frum Day.

This holiday is named for a World War 2 era sailor who visited the island back when Vanuatu was known as New Hebrides--an island nation under joint rule by France and Britian. This nation is located between Fiji and New Guinea and is comprised of over 80 islands. Tanna Island is 20 miles long and no more than 16 miles wide with about 28,000 inhabitants.

John Frum Day is a religious holiday. It's believed by members of this religion, a form of "cargo cult", that one day John Frum will return and bring with him vast quantities of consumer goods or cargo just like he did when he visited back in WW2. John Frum is believed to live in Yasur, an 1,184 foot high active volcano on the coast of Tanna near the aptly named Sulphur Bay.

My post today about this lesser known holiday is topical also because somebody I know just returned from Vanuatu. Yaeli, the first link on my list of blog links in the left sidebar, spent 11 weeks on an island in Vanuatu working as a nurse. This was part of her training as she and a group of other nurses used their newfound skills in an area that sorely needed their help.

Yaeli, a lovely and energetic young Australian woman that I find just captivating, will no doubt be blogging about her experience in the near future. The poor thing has been without a computer for two and a half months so it might be a few days before she gets caught up in the more real aspects of her life. I am very happy to know that she's back and that she made a real difference during the practical part of her nursing training. Welcome back, Yaeli!

If you want to read more about John Frum Day, there's a good article on it in the current issue of Smithsonian Magazine. If you want to read more about Yaeli--and you should!--go visit her blog!


Teresa said…
Another informative post! Thanks!

However, as there was a Survivor Vanuatu, I do believe you've just outed yourself. Amazing....
kenju said…
I have that issue of Smithsonian, but due to all the work this week, I have not been able to read it yet. I will, though, thanks to your mention of it. I remember reading about other cargo cults (mostly in Africa and Samoa, I think). I did not know that Vanuatu had one too. I have missed Yaeli, so I also say.....welcome back!
utenzi said…
No "outing" here, Teresa. I have a subscription to Smithsonian. :-p I've never watched Survivor and doubt I ever will. Amazing Race is the only reality show for me.

Judy, Yaeli made her first post since getting back just a few hours ago. She got back to Australia 3 days ago.
No_Newz said…
Well Happy John Frum Day to you! 2 months without internet? I. Would. Be. Dead. :D
Welcome home Yaeli!
Lois Lane
sassyassy said…
Thanks for the heads up on Yaeli...I have checked out her blog and will be going back for more on her adventures.
kenju said…
Thanks for the visit today, Utenzi. In response, I'll say
YIKES!! 40 pounds in 7 years? Could be worse, I guess. I gained 40 pounds in 2 years after I quit smoking, but since I was at least 40 lbs. underweight at the time, it was welcomed. What Mesxican restaurant are you referring to? I like Los Tres Magueyes on Falls of the Neuse.
utenzi said…
You're welcome, Judy. Since I live on the other side of Chapel Hill I don't get to North Raleigh much. When I'm in that area I'm more likely to eat at Bahama Breeze. I usually don't like fish but they really prepare it well there. I've only eaten at the Raleigh branch so I don't know if the whole chain is good. They're owned by Darden Restaurants, the same folk that own Red Lobster.

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