Mt. Hagen Cultural Show

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Country and Region Papua New GuineaWestern Highlands
Type of Festival Dance, Music
Location of Festival Kagamuga, Western Highlands, Papua New Guinea
Festival Contact Information

Mt. Hagen Cultural Show
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Festival Description

The annual Mt. Hagen Cultural Show is held in the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea. During two days, over 50 different tribal groups dressed in distinctly different traditional attire come together to perform their respective songs and dances in front of a roaring audiences numbering over 50,000. Endless flocks of foreign tourists with increased anticipation and curiousity fly into Papua New Guinea from France, Australia, Germany, Japan, United States of America, New Zealand, Italy, and other countries worldwide to simply witness this world-famous cultural event. Each year in mid-August the Mt. Hagen Cultural Show is the largest cultural show that celebrates the diversity of cultures among the natives.

Festival Dates July 27 - August 15, 2012

Festival Story:

Papua New Guinea is made up of 700 different tribes and many of them converge on Mt. Hagen each August for the annual Mt. Hagen cultural festival. This festival is a celebration of tradition and tribal history as the tribes recreate their own legends. At this festival you will experience the power and diversity of culture in PNG.

This show was begun in the 1950s by Australian kiaps (Australian Administration officers) as a way of improving relations between the different tribes. Australian kiaps have stood up for the tribes' rights to retain their traditions and culture — the longevity of the Mount Hagen event and its organisers' success in maintaining it as "samting bilong tumbuna" (meaning "the ways of our forefathers") is testimony to the wisdom of that policy. The people come in bilas (full traditional costumes) with stunning face tattoos, body paint, elaborate headdresses and shell breastplates. You will find yourself captivated by the rhythm and color as dancers whirl to the sound of the beating drums. The Highlanders are a very proud and competitive people and the show is therefore a vibrant and energetic display. There are also musical presentations, cultural activities and an agricultural fair.


Practical Info:

  • Kagamuga Showgrounds
    During the colonial era the show was held in the heart of Mt. Hagen Township. The current venue's location is next to the Mt. Hagen Aiport. From the city, Kagamuga Showground is only 10 minutes drive eastwards.


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