The reason we came to Easter Island (please see the post on Easter Island) in February (summer) is that the Rapa Nui sponsor an annual festival, the Tapati (which means Rapa Nui Week), held since 1975 around the beginning of the month to celebrate Rapa Nui culture. It is their way of maintaining and promoting their culture, honoring their ancestors, reliving and preserving their cultural identity.
Some more cynical people say the purpose of the festival to bring tourists to the island. It is true that there were about 2000-3000 people at the festival, 50% local and 50% tourists. That’s why we came this time of year. The locals all come out, many to see their kids dancing and performing. But as explained to us, most importantly the festival is a way to teach their children about their identity and culture.