Family is important in French Polynesia, and the traditional Tahitian family is a fluid, open-armed force serving as the country’s backbone. Weekends are spent with family, and when strangers strike up conversations they usually begin with questions about family. The tattoo art form was also invented in Tahiti, and today many Polynesians sport beautiful work-of-art tattoos as symbols of their personal identities.
The Billabong Tahiti Pro Surfing Tournament happens over three days in May; it's an international pro-level surf contest on the big waves of Puna'auia in Tahiti. Heiva i Tahiti is a major traditional Polynesian festival held in Pape'ete throughout July. The Kawaiki Nui Canoe Race is held in November.