Wogasia Successfully Held Spear Fighting Festival
Island of Santa Catalina or Aorigi in Makira/Ulawa Province has successfully hosted Wogasia or the Spear Fighting rite from the 18th to the 20th of May 2023.
The event this year is the first-time tribes in the small island extend an open invitation to visitors and guests outside in more than three years to witness their rite of regeneration, reconciliation, and fertility, which then concluded with a spear fight.
David Faerua of Nausuri Village in Santa Catalina Island said a good number of guests visited the island during the festival this year.
He said local carvers and other crafts vendors benefited more from guests purchasing their products in this year’s festival compared to such festivals in the past.
“A good number of visitors attended this year’s festival and we really benefited much from this,” David said.
Visit Solomons plays a vital role in promoting this year’s Wogasia festival and according to Garedd Porowai, Team Leader of Visit Solomons Product Marketing division, several guests who attended the festival were flabbergasted at how the traditional ritual was done.
Garedd, who also attended the traditional festival, said several guests were blown away by the event stating they have never seen anything like it before. They feel part of the community.
“The visitors really feel the deep emotional connection because it is such a dynamic ritual, not just dynamic in activities leading up to the spear fight but also in emotions, it’s about reconciliation, renewal and fertility,” he said.
Garedd added that Visit Solomons are looking to make this festival an exclusive event and are working on promos for next year.
However, Garedd highlighted some challenges that must be addressed.
“While we are looking to raise the number of guest or visitors, we must be sensitive at the type and of guests we are getting and the impact it will have on the communities because Santa Catalina is a small Island, they do not have a big water source and also, they do not have a big food gardens.”
“I’m highlighting this since we have to find that good balance because any number of guests or visitors to the island at any time will definitely have a strain on their water and food supply,” Garedd pointed out.
The traditional festival and ritual is held annually, usually on the last day of the year as indicated in their traditional 13-month calendar, that is around the end of May or beginning of June annually.
By Alex Dadamu