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Tuvalu Travel Guide

Children in a Boat

Sports and Recreation

Tuvaluans love dancing, be it their traditional fatele, more energetic than Gilbertese dancing, or the predictable twist. Traditional dancing is performed on special occasions, such as when opening a building, greeting special visitors, or celebrating holidays. Get in on the singing, dancing, and general frivolity taking place at the maneapa almost every night. On Funafuti, migrants from each outer island have their own maneapa, so ask around to find out if anything is on. Or just listen for the rhythmic sounds and head that way. Sometimes the local I-Kiribati do Gilbertese dances. On festive occasions many people wear flower garlands called fou (rhymes with Joe) in their hair. Each island has its own style.

Ask where you can watch te ano (the ball), the national game. Two teams line up facing one another and competition begins with one member throwing the heavy ball toward the other team, who must hit it back with their hands. Points are scored if the opposite team lets the ball fall and the first team to reach 10 wins. Obviously, weak players are targeted and the matches can be fierce (but usually friendly). The game ends with the losers performing a funny song and dance routine intended to bring the winners back to earth.