Wednesday 29 May 2013

Papua New Guinea's amazing festival season underway

Huli Wigmen of Tari 

Crocodiles, war chants, flamboyant masks and canoe races are some of the quirky highlights of Papua New Guinea's annual festival season between June and November.

Papua New Guinea's festival season, which includes the popular Goroka Show, the National Canoe and Kundu Festival and the fascinating Crocodile Festival, offers travellers a taste of PNG's rich and varied culture.

The festivals are still largely a local affair meaning travellers get an authentic PNG experience.
With over 800 different languages and hundreds of indigenous cultures, the festivals are colourful displays showcasing epic legends, impressive costumes and traditional Sing-Sing performances.

Key festival highlights include:

National Mask Festival 17-21 July 2013 Kokopo, East New Britain
The National Mask Festival is the only festival of its kind in Papua New Guinea, bringing together tribes from all over the country to showcase their unique and elaborate masks. Each mask's style forges the cultural identity of a tribe, along with costumes, dances and songs. The performances are unique to the National Mask Festival and cannot be found anywhere else, making the festival a truly special and unique traditional experience.

Crocodile Festival 6-7 August 2013 East Sepik Province, Wewak
The Sepik people honour their special bond with crocodiles in the annual Crocodile Festival. This festival features live crocodile encounters, traditional dance contests, and tours of the sacred spirit houses where men undergo intensive initiation rituals. The Sepik River hosts some of the world's largest saltwater and freshwater crocodile populations and the richness of life in this area is celebrated during the WWF-supported festival.

Mount Hagen Show 17-18 August 2013 Mount Hagen
The world-famous Mount Hagen Show attracts up to 75 different tribes from all areas of Papua New Guinea and is one of the largest cultural events in the country. Tribesmen paint and dress themselves in accordance with each of their unique traditional cultures. The festival acts as a display of the colourful variety of cultures within the country and as a peaceful interaction between tribes. The mountain location gives spectacular natural views, making this an ideal festival for travellers who want to experience as much indigenous culture and scenery as possible.

The Goroka Show 13-15 September 2013 Eastern Highlands
This is one of the most exhilarating displays of culture, music and dance in Papua New Guinea and over 100 tribes come together in Goroka for the annual show. Dressing in brightly coloured feathers and body paint representing their tribe they perform Sing-Sings for visitors of other villages. An iconic image of the show is the Asaro Mudmen from a village not far from Goroka who wear hand-made heavy clay masks with mud covered bodies.

National Canoe and Kundu Festival 1 - 4 November 2013 Alotau
This popular festival brings hundreds of tribes to Alotau, along with their impressive canoes, which each tribe spends months making and decorating just for the event. Competitive canoe and sailing races are held as entertainment, as well as traditional songs and dances rarely seen by outsiders. The festival celebrates the crucial role canoes play in the everyday life of Papua New Guineans, as the hundreds of scattered islands mean sea travel is paramount for trade and tribal relations.

The larger festivals can be accessed through organised tours and for the others it is recommended you contact the local tourist board for advice on transport and accommodation.

More information on the festivals and tour operators in the area can be found at

Asaro Mudmen Huli Wigmen of Tari National Mask Festival
Goroka Show Mount Hagen Show

For further information about PNG and its popular upcoming festivals and recommended tour operators visit

Book Your Travel with Wego