The Gods of Easter Island

Make-Make, God of Necessity and Providence of the Rapa Nui People

Rapa Nui mythology was hardly forgotten, maybe due to the scarce relationship this civilization had with the rest of the world, and because very little of it survived the tribal wars. But the truth is that, as Zeus or Hunab Ku were gods in Greece and Yucatan, the Rapa Nui people soke comfort in the legend of Make-Make, the creator god of all things.

Easter Island is the most remote island of the Polynesian archipelago, but this does not mean it lacks any gods. Faraway, the gods Tangaroa, creator of heaven and earth (according to Samoan mythology) and Haua, god of the wind and the birds, were compared to Make-Make.

Make-Make seduced Rapa Nui people because he was a warrior god and a fertility provider. The ancient civilization was always short of food, so the prayers to the gods became directed to him. Make-Make sighed and created the earth, but he felt something was missing. After deep lucubration and impressive events, he was looking at his own image reflected in the water enclosed in an old pumpkin. At the same time, a bird settled on his shoulder and, as he saw some similarities, he created his firstborn in an intermediate morphology. But in spite of creating this feathered creature, he felt the urgency to craft a creature in his own image. So he spread the oceans with life and fish were created. Not satisfied with this, he fertilized a somewhat reddish stone and the first and lonely man was born.

Make-Make was responsible for leading a group of Polynesians through the deadly waters of the Pacific to the uninhabited island (Easter Island), so they could build a different kingdom there, maybe a utopia for a dreamy god.

The Rapa Nui people

The descendants of the first men who inhabited the island stayed there for centuries. The people were fulfilled from so much promised land, so much fertility. The Rapa Nui mythology vindicates the idea of a civilization compromised with their religion. It questions any detachment from the gods because their origin, development and later arrival to the island happened thanks to the deities.

It is impossible to know the reason that drove the construction of the moai, ancient or divine sculptures. Whatever the motives that generated these wonderful sculptures were, the ironic part is that they were responsible for attracting the eyes of the modern world to the events of a lost civilization, hidden among the blue waters of the Pacific.

Francisco Lira