Papua New Guinean Cultural Safaris
East New Britain is part of a group of islands nestled in the northeast of Papua New Guinea. Once a strategic position for military outposts in both world wars, it is one of the more culturally diverse areas of Papua New Guinea. South Sea Horizons is proud to share the photographs and experiences we have encountered along the way while operating low impact responsible tours into regions of Papua New Guinea.
All of our explanations are our recounts of conversations with the people themselves. If some cultures are “Itambu” (forbidden to talk about), then we do not push these boundaries. We always check to see if we are allowed to share these stories.
While going through the various stages of the initiation processes, men and women gain knowledge of the traditions and customs of their ancestors. The stories are passed down by word of mouth, and this adds to the notoriety of being initiated and offers an individual village hierarchy status. Those who are uninitiated assume a lower stature to the ones that are. The performance of each sing sing group has its own unique story, some shared, and some have been kept secret for 1000’s of years.
Pictured here is the Burham Spirit.
After the death of a person, the Bainings follow a step by step process followed by the villagers to honour the dead to mourn appropriately. Usually, the entire village and neighbouring villages will help in the mourning process. Some methods take weeks, and some take only days. The Burham appears to dispose of the remaining properties of a deceased person. They come to demolish the houses and burn the belongings of the dead while singing songs that speak of the exploits and accomplishments of the deceased person while explaining why the spirits have come to perform the final stage of the mortuary sequence.
“The Burham is a dance performed by spirit figures who have come to dispose of the remaining properties of a deceased person. It is the final stage of the mortuary process, where the remaining properties of the deceased are ritually destroyed and burnt. The songs speak of the exploits of the deceased person and explain why the spirits have come to perform the final stage of the mortuary sequence” Dr Simet – Papua New Guinea Cultural Commission 1993 – 2016. Photo Cred – Elodie Van Lierde #plentygoodinpng #firedancepapuanewguinea #travelpapuanewguinea #positivepng #travel #southseahorizons
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