Singing in the Name of Peace

Singing in the Name of Peace

Few destinations remain as exotic, or as wild, as Papua New Guinea, a clutch of South Sea islands that represent the last frontier of the Pacific.

Famed for its captivating biodiversity and colourful but warlike tribes, Papua New Guinea’s mountainous Western Highlands play host to the annual Mt Hagen Show festival, a traditional Sing-Sing event. Introduced by missionaries in an attempt to forge unity and respect among tribes that often held grudges for generations, Sing-Sings are kaleidoscopic cultural events attended by tribes from across the country, who perform traditional dances and tell timeless folklore. The Mt Hagen event, held in August each year, is the largest Sing-Sing in Papua New Guinea, welcoming dance and cultural groups from over 100 Papuan tribes, from the Highlands, the Lowlands and even the coastal islands. Performers adorn themselves in vibrant natural pigments, rare bird features and kina shells to display the wealth of their community as the women serenade the crowds with songs passed down through generations and the men show their fierce dexterity with spears and bows. There’s no winner, no losers, just a harmony brought to the remote mountains of Papua in the name of culture.