In this cultural article, we will talk about the Tahitian Christmas tree: its existence, the particular case of the ‘aito, when to install it and how to decorate it.
There are Christmas trees in Tahiti
To those who think that in Tahiti, there are only coconut and palm trees, or that Christmas trees only grow in temperate or cold regions (in the northern or southern hemisphere, places with snow … ).
It may surprise you, but there are Christmas trees in Tahiti.
The proof in images: in the background, it is indeed a Christmas tree. (For those who only believe what they see)
The most famous and coveted Tahitian Christmas tree : the ‘aito
Since you are on a Tahitian language learning site, we start with the definitions (and after, we will do the explanations).
|Te tumu paina, te tumu rāau noera||The Christmas tree||Te tumu = The strain, the trunk, the foundation, the origin, the cause, the reason
Te tumu rāau = The tree
Te paina = The pine
|Te ‘aito||The warrior, the hero, the championThe iron tree|
The ‘aito is indeed a Christmas tree.
It is known and prized for its hardness, hence its name of iron tree. Which makes it a quality material for making tiki.
|Tiki or ti’i||Traditional style statue, sculpture, idol||Tiki is a word that is part of the English language (in the English dictionary).
Ti’i is written and pronounced this way in literary Tahitian because Tahitian does not contain the letter k in its alphabet.
See the lesson: Alphabet, writing and pronunciation in Tahitian
Usually, in spoken Tahitian and in English, we use the word tiki
This is what a tiki looks like:
When to install the Tahitian Christmas tree ?
Let’s go back to our Christmas trees.
From the beginning of December, Tahitians set up their Christmas tree (natural or artificial, ‘aito or not).
Some are in favor of installing the tree inside the house, others (those who have a Christmas tree planted in their garden) have it outside.
Why so soon would you tell me ?
- To start the festivities, Christmas time earlier
- To receive the gifts sooner (that’s the children’s response)
- Or to enjoy the Christmas tree and its decorations for longer
How to decorate the Chrismas tree in Tahiti?
- According to your tastes
- Tap into your imagination, your inventiveness
- Based on your interests
- With what you have to hand
What I encountered in Tahiti, Christmas trees:
- Classics: With balls and garlands
- Monochromes: With the decorations (balls, garlands) of a single color
- Ephemeral: With a coconut palm, leaf adorned with flowers
- Covered with beer bottles (I’m not commenting on the interest in this case)
- Covered with tin cans (for an outdoor Christmas tree, in the garden)