When you travel to Papua New Guinea, you travel back in time. Dependent
on subsistence farming and living in small villages, the people
of this amazing country live life on an inherited social structure
affecting matters from marriage to gardening. This lifestyle has
remained unchanged for hundreds of years.
Traditional ceremonies mark social events such as the famous Yam
(Milalala) Festival, which is held each year between June and
August and is presided over by the elders of the village. The festival
begins with the men carrying the yearly yam harvest to the village
yam huts while the women sing and dance. The sexual rituals of this
festival are what gave the islands the title "The Islands of
In a country of four million people, 800 languages and 200 different
cultures, Papua New Guinea is truly rich in diversity. The art forms
of PNG are as distinctive as they are diverse. The artistic works
of the region range from pottery to weapons and from basketwork
to musical instruments. All of these differ in style dramatically
from village to village. Many artworks can be purchased during visits
to villages from individual artists through bargaining.
Artifacts from the Milne Bay province
and especially the Trobriand Islands are world-renowned. The islanders
offer beautifully carved walking sticks, figurines and fish and
salad bowls, some of them inlaid with mother of pearl shell. Artistic
styles differ even from village to village and individual pieces
invariably have unique qualities. Weapons, pottery, basketwork and
carvings all reflect their different origins.
Other handicrafts that make fantastic presents are the grass skirts
worn by Papua New Guinean girls as part of their traditional dress.
These are invariably beautifully decorated with amazing colors and
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