These are the best cultural shows in Papua New Guinea and the great thing is that anyone can actually be part of them! Book a ticket to one of the following to collect unforgettable memories:
This is the most vibrant and the most spectacular festival in Papua New Guinea, featuring over 1000 participants adorned with amazing tribal regalia from more than 100 different ethnic groups. The September celebration is the oldest festival of Papua, held in the hilly town of Goroka to honour a big day in the country`s history – the Papuan Independence on the 16th of September 1975.
Goroka Festival is the ultimate feast for one`s eyes and it will cost the visitors around $30 USD.
NOTE that this is the major tourist attraction in Papua New Guinea, therefore bookings are essential.
Mt Hagen Show is an August cultural event and it is Papua`s second most important celebration. More than 50 distinct tribes gather up in one of the largest cities of Papua New Guinea, Mt Hagen, to present their amazing handmade colourful outfits while dancing and singing together in the rhythm of drums to celebrate their cultural heritage. Mt Hagen carnival is an opulence on a big scale and it made it be well-visited not just by the indigenous but also the Western people.
NOTE that this spellbinding show of Mt Hagen is not the cheapest ($ 100 USD/2 day pass) but it is something to see once-in-a-lifetime and it is definitely worth the money.
Ambuti is also called a ‘Crocodile Festival’ and already its name arouses interest. It takes place on the banks of the mystic Sepik River every August. The festival lasts for four days paying tribute to the crocodile – the sacred animal of the region, including spirited dancing and wild scary costumes.
NOTE for the strangers, the price is around $ 30 USD and they can rely on high levels of adrenaline.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Sepik territory – a distant cousin of the Amazon – attracts many adventurers with its animist heritage and the eerie tribal culture. Heading up the river will take visitors back to the medieval times with its totemic customs and villages still reigned by black magicians and shamans, performing some of the most shocking rites like extremely painful body scarring.
According to a myth once there was a crocodile in Sepik River which became a human and the animal has a great significance for the Chambri tribe. And so, in recognition of the sacred lizard, the young men of the Sepik region are inflicted with hundreds of deep cuts in cascading patterns down their back, chest and arms to make their body look like a crocodile. Besides, clay and tree oil is pushed into the wounds to make them raised once healed. Young male teenagers must undergo this agonising ritual to officially become men.
Morobe is basically an agricultural fair taken place every October in the town of Lae. You will enjoy spectacles such as female topless dancing and male rodeo-style performances. This is the land of “cowboys” and on this day the local men gather to show off their horse jumping and riding skills. The event continues with archery competitions and finally the crowning of the Morobe Show Queen. The striking Morobe Sing Sing is finished off with a dramatic music party, presenting evocative dress ups.
NOTE for only as much as $ 5 USD anyone can witness the awe-inspiring ambience of the very last festival of the year.
The Moale festival is another annual event which celebrates Motuan culture and takes place in the district of Port Moresby and the Southern Lowlands every September. Similarly to Morobe, the highlight of the show is the crowning of the Hiri Queen.
Moale is the most significant event in the southern part of Papua New Guinea and it honours the ancient Hiri trade from the pre-colonial times. The locals typically create and radiantly decorate the so-called “lagotoi” canoes and sail westwards into the Gulf of Papua to trade clay pots for assorted foods, e.g. Sago – the national delicious staple food extracted from tropical sago palm stems.
NOTE the participants will pay $ 30 USD in order to enjoy the unique water show on Port Moresby`s lovely Ela Beach.
6.KOKOPO MASK FESTIVAL (BONUS)
This less known yet very fascinating show is a life dream for all anthropologists. It is every year in July when myriads of masks and creative handmade costumes are presented in the coastal town of Kokopo. Various ethnic groups perform a ritual dance in ancestor and spirit masks in the night time to create kind of eerie atmosphere. Dancing through blazing fires accompanied by the chanting audience makes the whole extravaganza simply arresting.
NOTE experience the jaw-dropping moments of the Kokopo Mask Show for just $ 30 USD.
It is always advisable to inquire about the safety situation in Papua New Guinea or in any location you intend to visit due to the criminal gangs and tribal conflicts.
Malaria pills and vaccination against the Yellow Fever is strongly recommended and some countries such as Australia even request all visitors get immunised prior the entry to PNG.
HOW TO GET THERE
There are two Australian airlines that fly into Port Moresby – Virgin Australia and Qantas.
Air Niugini is the national carrier of Papua New Guinea connecting all domestic airports.
You can get affordable flights but there will be two or three stopovers: London to Singapore to Brisbane to Papua New Guinea. Most flights from Asia such as London to Manila to Papua New Guinea have fewer stopovers and therefore faster.
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