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Tam Tam

Ambrym is famous for its magnificent tam-tams (or slit gongs) sculpted out of tree trunks. They are the some of the most impressive items of art in Vanuatu. The dancing areas in the traditional villages are decorated with Tam Tams planted in the ground, which can measure several meter’s high. They are used to beat the rhythm for the singing and dancing during ceremonial rituals.

Rom Dance

The most striking custom dance is the Rom dance. It is held every year in Northern AMBRYM and is followed by a pig-killing ceremony. Traditionally it has been an exclusively a male event and kept very secret. The masks, which are made especially for this event, are superb. The outfits worn for the dance are destroyed immediately it is finished so the spirits won’t haunt the dancers. Other local dances are more open to the public eye, they include: Hipipur, Welele or Roplar, to celebrate the New Year or marriages.

Sand Drawing

Magnificent sand drawings are also found here. Originally used to depict a story and were drawn as the story developed. At the end, the finished picture would represent a turtle, a canoe or a human face, which would be in relation with the story. Nowadays, such drawings are more often used to leave a message. The most skilled artists can continue drawing until the picture is finished without lifting their hand once.