The National Mask Festival of Papua New Guinea is an annual event National introduced in 1995 to promote the Mask Cultures of East New Britain, New Ireland and other areas in Papua New Guinea in a sustainable manner.
The National Mask Festival of Papua New Guinea held over three days is a unique exhibition of cultural dances, ritual performances and a variety of arts and crafts on display. The festival opens with the arrival of the “Kinivai” at dawn.
The “Kinivai” represents the arrival of the revered ‘Tubuans” who arrive amidst the chanting and beating of Kundu drums by elders and initiated young men on canoes. The ‘Tubuans’ are revered ancestral spirits of the ‘Tolai’ people of East New Britain. Traditionally the arrival of the Tubuans meant that shell money was to be paid for broken taboos by certain people in the villages.
Traditional masks will be on display during the festival – some many decades old brought over from New Ireland Province and other parts of Papua New Guinea.
Many of these Tubuans are sacred and aren’t to be viewed or transported to alien places, hence the ceremonial ‘Kinavai’ which acts as a cleansing or appeasement ritual for the broken taboos and to pay respects to the Tolai people of East New Britain
Why do we like it? Sacred Tolai Tubuans perform at this event.