Festivals in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is renowned for its immense diversity of cultures, languages and tribal traditions. Each year, special shows designed to promote regional cultures draw thousands of spectators to experience cultural displays including traditional dance, crafts, produce and rituals.

Enga Cultural Show
First staged in 1994, the show has since attracted international recognition. It features colourful displays from the region's traditional dance groups, Enga rituals, arts & crafts demonstrations and an Enga products fair.
Things to do: Visit surrounding villages.
Enga Show Ground, Enga Province
Duration: 2-3 days in August

Mt Hagen Show
PNG is made up of 700 different tribes and many of them converge on Mt Hagen every 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 missionaries as a way of improving relations between the different tribes. 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 colour as dancers whirl to the sound of the beating drums. The Highlanders are 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.
Things to do: Visit Mt Hagen markets and the surrounding villages.
Kagamuga Show Grounds, 7km from Mt Hagen town, Western Highlands Province.
Duration: 2-3 days in August

Tumbuan Mask Festival

First staged in 1995, the Mask Festival aims to preserve, in a living form, the mask cultures of Papua New Guinea. This fascinating aspect of PNG's culture is most prevalent in the New Guinea Islands, Momase region and the Gulf Province.
Things to do: Visit WW II relics (including the Yamamoto Bunkers and the Submarine Base Tunnel), Watom Island and Rabaul Observatory.
Queen Elizabeth's Park, Rabaul, East New Britian Province.
Duration: 3 days in July

Goroka Show

The Goroka Show is an intense display of the rich and vibrant culture of PNG. Tribes from all over gather in the town of Goroka for a weekend of music, dancing and amazing displays of tribal rituals. This is one of the biggest shows in the Highlands and can attract up to 140,000 people, including 40,000 painted warriors dancing to the rhythmic thud of the Kundu drums. This show was also begun in the 1950s by the same missionaries that established the Mt Hagen show. The cultural displays over this weekend are astounding as over 80 tribes descend on the town. For two days and two nights the sound of drums resounds throughout the hills and tribesmen will dance – their bodies painted in oil and pig grease. The tribes come in their colourful traditional dress, with face and body paint, feathers, shells and masks. The tribes are judged on their skill and creativity and there is also a Miss Goroka Show contest.
Things to do: Visit Mt Gahavisuka National Park, JK McCarthy Museum, Daulo Pass and the Eastern Highlands Cultural Centre.
Goroka Showgrounds, Eastern Highlands.
Duration: 3 days in September

Hiri Moale Festival

This colourful festival was originally designed to preserve the Hiri Trade expeditions between the Motu-Koitabu people and the Erema (Kerema) people on PNG's south-west coast. The Motu-Koitabu would undertake a 3-month journey by Lagatoi (traditional canoe) to trade clay pots for sago and canoe logs from the Erema. Today, the festival features traditional dances, the Hiri Queen contest (a beauty pageant), the arrival of the Lagatoi (traditional canoes), canoe racing, musical presentations and an arts and crafts exhibition.
Things to do: Visit Variata National Park, the National Botanical Gardens, Koki Markets, Sogeri Plateau, the National Museum & Art Gallery and Parliament House.
Various venues around Port Moresby, with the two main areas at Sir Hubert Murray Stadium and Ela Beach.
Duration: 2-3 days in September

Morobe Province Agricultural Show

The varied displays at this show including poultry, mining, traditional building materials and schools exhibitions. Morobe culture is celebrated with traditional Sing-Sing groups from around the province. There is also contemporary rock and string band music.
Things to do: Visit the Lae War Cemetery and Botanic Gardens, or explore the lush rainforest.
Lae Showgrounds, Lae Province
Duration: 3 days in October

Papua New Guinea Arts & Cultural Festival
This national festival is designed to preserve the different forms of culture in PNG, with performances from traditional dance groups, contemporary groups and individual artists. Arts and crafts from around the country are also displayed.
Things to do: Visit Variata National Park, the National Botanical Gardens, Koki Markets, Sogeri Plateau, the National Museum & Art Gallery and Parliament House.
Sir John Guise Stadium, Port Moresby
Duration: 2 days in November

Visitor Information
PO Box 1291
Pacific MMI House
Port Morseby, NCD
Email PNG Tourism


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Papua New Guinea Map