Every year at Mount Hagen, in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, the
biggest reunion of tribes in the world takes place. In a region where
the first white man was seen in 1930, traditions are still strong, and
the pride of the tribes takes precedence over modernity. Created in
1964 by Australian colonials to pacify the tribes, there's still a
possibility of a confrontation, but these days take place in the shape
of singing, colours and incredible garments...
“Armed carjackings, assaults, robbery, shootings and serious sexual offences, including rape, are common in Papua” warns the Foreign Office travel advice to travelers! But once you are in the place, you can meet the most incredible tribes in the world. The “Men bilong pait” (the Warriors) ,the” pipels” (the women), and the “pikinini” (the children) are all celebrating. Hundreds of papus are gathering themselves for the Singsing. It’s in open air, but you feel like being backstage in the latest fashion show in Milano or Paris as men paint their faces in red,yellow,white,black, women take grass to make skirts or kilts and cover their bodies with clay, mud, or even pigs fat! Old wise men are building the giant headdresses made of eagle, parrot and bird of paradise feathers. Each feather is packed in newspaper, to protect them from insects. It takes hours… Some warriors wear also marsupial jaws as necklaces! “If you do not have jaws, you can put dogs teeth, it works too” they told me!
Papua New Guinea , Highlands, Mount Hagen festival singsing
© Eric Lafforgue