Papua New Guinea Sing-Sings

Mount Hagen Sing SingClick for larger image

When it comes down to it, there are few better ways of enjoying yourself than getting loads of people in a field and having a party. Even better if it’s a fancy dress party. And if the party is attended exclusively by Papua New Guinean tribes, the scene is set for some amazing stuff to occur…

Sing Sing 2Click for larger image

In Papua New Guinea, these festivals are known as sing-sings, and they are attended by tribes from all over the country. Each tribe displays its own unique style of fashion, music and dance, creating an amazing spectacle of colours and sounds. The costumes are what you would expect from the original masters of fancy dress: bright feathers from tropical birds, resplendent head-dresses, ornate bone piercings, necklaces of leaves and jangling shells, WWF-esque facepaint.

Sing Sing 5Click for larger image

The first sing-sing was held in the town of Goroka in 1957 — that’s over a decade before Woodstock gave birth to the modern western music festival phenomenon. The Goroka Cultural Show is still held every year, drawing over 100 tribes from around the country.

Sing Sing 4

This year the Goroka Show takes place from 14-16 September, tourists welcome. If you can’t make that one, Mount Hagen Sing-Sing is another popular event, held 11-12 August.

Sing Sing 3

Alternatively, experience the vibrant atmosphere of the Goroka Show in the video below, from 11:00 onwards (or from the beginning if you want to get a full flavour of life in Papua New Guinea). If you bear in mind that only a few hundred people have seen this video so far, you might get a strangely intimate sense of life in today’s global village. Then reflect on how much the tribesmen know about being on YouTube for all the world to see, and the nature of modern humanity seems stranger still…

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