From the Gonzo

. . . somewhere near the event horizon.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The cult of a man named John

Next Feburary 15, take a look around you, while nothing about the day is inherently special (other than the fact you may be nursing a post Valentine's Day chocolates stomach ache) this day is sacred to a small band of South Pacific islanders in Vanuatu.

Februrary 15 is Jon Frum Day in this tiny island nation.

Who is Jon Frum? Why does he have a day? What the hell is going on in Vanuatu?

The answers, in short, no one really knows, I tell you, and, again no one really knows.

The religious cult in Vanuatu, these people actually worship an American GI named Jon Frum, has had a strong following and is one of the world's few remaining "cargo cults." Cargo cults were a result of European colonization for the most part. As vast stores of supplies and items never before seen arrived to once basic cultures they could only assume that the items were coming from some divine source. Thus, some cultures began to worship the icons of European imperialism in the hopes that they would return with "cargo."

The same thing happened during WWII as vast amounts of military resources deployed to remote and sparsley inhabited regions worldwide. This is how the cult of Jon Frum was born.

This is seriously real stuff. A sect of the cult broke off a couple years back and it culminated in a violent clash with axes and knives, 25 people were hospitalized with injuries after the melee.

Related Links:
Smithsonian Magazine (Feb. 2006) story- "In John They Trust," by Paul Raffaele
Cargo Cult Wikipedia entry
Jon Frum Site


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