Rano Kau

Rano Kau RANO KAU Rano Kau is freshwater lake in a volcano in the southwest corner of Easter Island. It is right at the coastline with cliffs on one side of it. The ancient inhabitants of the island held ceremony called the Birdman Festival there every year. At the festival, all the important chiefs from the different tribes gathered to have feasts and crown a new Birdman for that year. They feasted on human sacrifices, usually the lowly peasants. Sometimes tribal wars would start here and sometimes lasted for months.

There are many stone houses around the lake that were only used at the time of the festival. One of these houses was where the Birdman stayed all year. For the nomination of the new Birdman, the chiefs sent a servant down to the cliffs by ocean to watch and wait for the first egg laid of the soot tern. To get it, they had to swim across shark infested waters, retrieve it, then swim back and climb up the cliffs. The servant that brought back the egg his chief won.

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That chief became Birdman for the year. The new Birdman had stay in hut all by himself the whole year. He could not talk to anyone but a special servant that brought him food and water. He couldn’t come out or take a bath the whole time he was there. If a woman was seen in the hut, the chief would be put to death.

Once the festival came around again, it started over. Geography.


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