July 02, 2009

National Mask Festival on again


National Mask festival will be staged in Kokopo, East New Britain from 15th Jul 2009.
This is one of the most unique Festivals in Papua New Guinea with different mask culture of the country, especially in New Guinea Islands Region get together.

When I visited Sepik River earlier this year, Middle Sepik dancers from Palimbe village- "Mai Mask" - were planning to visit all the way to Kokopo to participate in the Festival. It will be interesting if Sepik & Tolai Mask collaborate and dance together.
One of the main attractions of the Festival, apart from stunning Fire Dance Performance by Baining Tribe is the Kinavai Ceremony by Tolais, main ethnic group of Rabaul/Kokopo.


When the sun rises, Group of cone-shaped spirit figure called "Tubuan" are emerging from the sea. This will be followed by series of sacred ceremonies; Tubuans sit down in line and are whipped by the tabu (shell money), and the ceremony goes on... The real meaning of the ceremonies can not be disclosed outside the secret society members.....
What makes me more interested is that East New Britain , with early contact with European settlers, is one of the most civilized provinces in the country, yet those highly educated people still believe in the secret society and keep the tradition.

If you miss this year's festival, please do not forget to book the fabulous festival in 2010.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

We will actually be in PNG around the 2010 Mask Festival. Our dive boat disembarks at Walindi, but we can go to Rabaul after that on July 9th. Can you please recommend a hotel/travel agent? Thanks!

HK said...

Hello
Its great that you can combine Liveabord diving & Mask fetival.
Please send your request to
office@pngexplorers.com
and will get back to you.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks! I have been emailing several hotels (Kapopo, Rapopo, Walindi) since December 2009, but I still have not heard from any of them. I am now tempted to call them. Living in the US, it will cost me $1/minute to call PNG. You are actually the first one to respond to me, so thank you for the info. I will email PNG Explorers for my inquiry.

-Marie

Patrick said...

Much appreciation your good work in promoting this annual event! However, your very last paragraph, perhaps informed by your Eurocentric upbringing leaves alot to be desired. As you quoted:

"What makes me more interested is that East New Britain , with early contact with European settlers, is one of the most civilized provinces in the country, yet those highly educated people still believe in the secret society and keep the tradition".

This tumbuan that you seek to promote to you endearingly wrote about is the "tradition" of the people of that place. What you implied in the above statement is that "civilisation" brought in by the Whiteman should erase these superstitious belief systems, or something to that effect. I seem to be reading you in that light! Please watch the tumbuan for what it is and leave the interpretation of its cultural relevance to the people who know best.

HK said...

Patrick
Thanks for your comment.
I simply admire that Tolai people still carry on the tradition. Many places in the world have forgotton the meaning of their culture and only the surface remains.

Its truly unique and I hope they should maintain the great tradition.

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