If you are interested in experiencing ad seeing Papua New Guinean’s diverse culture then you are in luck this year. The country’s cultural events calendar begins in May and ends in November. Here is a list of events in chronological order.

Gogodala War Canoes
The spectacular Gogodala War Canoes. Picture courtesy of the National Cultural Commission.

The first event for the year is the 9th Gogodala Canoe Festival which will be held in Balimo, Western Province. The event is two day celebration of the Gogodala people’s magnificent canoes and starts on the 16th of May and end on the 18th.

In June, a couple of events are planned starting with the 17th Gulf Mask (E’haro) Festival which will be held from the 17th to the 18th in Toare village, Gulf Province. This event is aimed at promoting and maintaining the mask culture of the Elema people in the central and eastern parts of Gulf which is ominously vanishing. Following that is the Tavur Festival in Kimbe, West New Britain.

Then in July another couple of events take place mainly in the New Guinea Islands region. Firstly, the Malagan Festival in New Ireland Province which starts on the 21st and ends on Remembrance Day (23rd). This is followed by the Kono Festival in the Autonomous Regions of Bougainville (ARoB) with takes place on 27th to the 30th.

August sees another, more famous cultural events; the Sepik River Crocodile Festival and the Mt. Hagen Show. The first celebrates the Sepik people’s connection with the crocodile and takes place on the 7th and 8th at Ambunti station in East Sepik. The later is a celebration of sounds and colour that resonates in Western Highlands Province and takes place between the 12th and 14th.

September is filled with several events including the country’s independence celebration on the 16th. The 11th National Garamut na Mambu Festival kicks off on the 2nd and 3rd and celebrates the versatile use of the bamboo. The event takes place in the Sepik Show Grounds. This is followed by the 6th Garamut na Mask Festival at Rofundogum village from 7th to the 9th. Then the 4th Middle Sepik Festival takes place in Paliambe village from the 9th and 19th.  All events are in the East Sepik Province.

Running simultaneously in the same month is also the National Mask Festival in Kokopo, East New Britain (ENB) and the Namatanai Mask Festival in New Ireland which takes place on the 16th and 17th coinciding with Independence Celebrations.  Also scheduled for the month are the Hiri Moale Festival in the nation’s Capital, the 7th Bilasim Skin Festival and Coffee Festival in Goroka, Eastern Highlands, and the Warwagira Mask Festival in Kokopo, ENB.

Sepik redenaarsstoelenIn October we have the world famous Morobe Show at the Morobe Show Ground in Lae and then to top it off in November we have the 9th National Canoe Festival in Alotau, Milne Bay. This festival features the traditional war (lopos) and trade canoes including the Epois; the traditional canoes used in the Kula Trade.

Other cultural events are yet to be scheduled like the National Arts & Craft Exhibition in the National Capital District, the Enga Show in Wabag and the Bilum Festival in Goroka, Eastern Highlands.

If you wish to know more then don’t hesitate to contact the National Cultural Commission via email (culture@ncc.gov.pg) or their website www.ncc.gov.pg.

And there you have it a calendar of the cultural events taking place in PNG in 2012.