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.