Festivals of New Caledonia
Festival of the Yam
The sacred Festival of the Yam marks the beginning of the yam harvest, and is the most important event in the Kanak calendar. Usually held around mid-march, the yam is treated with the respect usually saved for an ancestor. When the yams are declared ready by the elders, they are pulled up and presented to the older clansmen and the chief, signalling the beginning of the harvest. The yams are blessed the following day by the priest, then distributed among the villagers. Out of respect, the yams are broken like bread rather than cut.
Giant Omelette Festival
New Caledonia's Giant Omelette Festival at Par Fayard takes place around Easter, during which a dozen chefs make a huge 3.5 diameter omelette using 7000 eggs. The festival dates back to the time when Napoleon and his army were travelling in the south of France. Napoleon stopped the night in a town near Bessieres, where the local inn keeper made him an omelette. He liked it so much, the next day, he ordered the townspeople to gather all the eggs in the village and create a giant omelette for his soldiers. Today, this unusual festival is celebrated in five French-speaking cities in France, Canada and New Caledonia.