Sunday, September 21, 2008


History and culture - Traditions, customs and all things to around you -
-awesome magic - - Festivals, celebrations -
- manifestation of the soul - - landscapes -
- big masks - people souls and ancestral goods -
- cultural symbols - -performing on canoes along the beach -
- The rhythm and beat of the musical instruments -
- traditional dances -! - _colorfully_ - artistic handicrafts

“The history of one man is the history of all,” says one of the greatest Brazilian writers, Paulo Coelho, in his book THE DEVIL AND MISS PRYM. I’m talking about history, because it has a lot of importance for me. It also has to do with countries, cultures, knowledge, points of view, and habits of life. History and culture, also, are the reflection of each and every person who has been born and lived in any place on this planet. Traditions, customs and all things around you, build our sense of identity and describe our essence too. I mean, for that reason, history, culture and traditions are like magic, really; awesome magic to embody the riches of your past roots, present and future on imminent progress to development.
Festivals, celebrations and the like are the manifestation of the soul town legacy. Ethnic music, dance, colorful, awesome landscapes, big masks, interesting costumes, and made-up faces are the principal components to begin the interaction between worldly people souls and ancestral gods. Humans have always been interested in transcendental topics. They look for explanations for existence, origin, natural phenomenona, transition of life, life after death, gods, and communication with supreme spirits. For that reason, many rituals were celebrated by human civilizations for thousands of years. In many ways they are the most important cultural symbols.
If you are interested in roots, mysterious festivals, continue with this text, I am sure you’re going to learn fascinating information about a festival celebrated in PNG (Papua New Guinea). People from the Salomon Islands, Melanesian countries and nearby islands share the same tradition and also participate in the festival called TUMBUAN FESTIVAL.!

···TUMBUAN FESTIVAL – The festival of the masks.···
This festival have to do whit the representation of spirits are found in West Africa, South America and Melanesia, mostly ancestral spirits. These types of masks which we now call the "tumbuan" in Tok Pidgin are found in Melanesia. In PNG, mask cultures are found in the New Guinea Islands, the Momase Region and Gulf Province. Mask or "tumbuan" are an important part of these cultures. The masks are similar in appearance and nature but still have noticeable differences. In many ways, they are the most important cultural symbols of PNG and identify our cultures from the rest of the world. This is because masks have been a feature of human civilization for thousands of years and varies from culture to culture. While the mask cultures of the above three regions belong to the same class, they are not necessarily the same in appearance and do not embody the same meanings. Although similarities can be drawn in this sense, one can distinguish a South American mask from that of a Melanesian or a West African mask. Yet within each region, masks share similarities but again they have marked differences from one area to another. For instance, in Melanesia nearly all of the Melanesian countries (Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and PNG) have mask cultures; with a very strong presence in PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. In appearance and functional roles in society, these masks are similar but again they differ from country to country.
The mask dancers that will perform this year will first of all see an opening performance which will take place at dawn on the morning of Thursday. This is called the "Kinavai" where one will see East New Britain's Tolai Dukduks and Tumbuans performing on canoes along the beach front of Kokopo Town. This is a very important sacred procedure for the Tolai Male Society and normally attracts 3,000 to 4,000 people each morning who come along to witness this event.
Mask group performances will continue throughout the day and into the evenings. Other groups that will be performing as well will include groups from East New Britain's Pomio District, which normally have both female and male performers. The uniqueness about this group is that the female performers perform a chanting song or songs as a lead up to the major mask performance by male members. All other mask dances found within the New Guinea Islands Region usually have only male performers.
The rhythm and beat of the musical instruments (called kundu) portray the inherited skills in traditional dances and normally goes in a very timely and well coordinated manner with the dancers' movements. The traditional dressing applied in all mask dances represents each society and regalia colorfully represent the natural goodness of the local environment. Mask dancers from the Momase region portray a very elaborative and usually long bird feathers are used.
Besides the mask groups performing, other saleable items will also be on sale. These will include wooden carvings, stone carvings, printed clothes used as souvenirs and other artistic handicrafts including sea shells. Some of Papua New Guinea's talented carvers and painters are found within the New Guinea Islands Region and the Momase Region where most of the mask groups come from.
No mask performance is performed to compete against each other. All mask performances are performed without being judged and the idea is to give them an opportunity to show case their own distinctive procedures and sacredness. In doing so, spectators become to know and value the importance of Papua New Guinea's mask cultures and the roles and responsibilities they play in their respective societies. The distinctive and positive impact the mask cultures have on its own people and followers contributes to the vibrant and traditional scenarios tourists can find in Papua New Guinea.

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