The Kenu and Kundu Festival is a vibrant celebration of the culture and traditions of the people of Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea. It is a festival that showcases the unique art, music, dance, and cuisine of the region and brings together people from all over the world.
The festival is named after two traditional watercraft that have been used by the people of Milne Bay for centuries. The Kenu is a long, narrow canoe made from a single tree trunk, while the Kundu is a percussion instrument made from a dried gourd. These two items are central to the festival and are used in many of the performances and competitions that take place during the event.
War canoes at the National Kenu & Kundu Festival. Photo courtesy of Milne Bay Tourism Bureau
The Kenu and Kundu Festival takes place in November each year, and in 2023, it is scheduled to run from November 10th to 12th. The dates for 2024 are yet to be announced. The festival usually takes place in Alotau, the capital of Milne Bay Province, and attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world.
The festival is a colorful and lively affair, with a wide variety of events and activities on offer. Visitors can expect to see traditional dances, music performances, and competitions featuring the Kenu and Kundu. There are also art exhibitions, markets selling local crafts and souvenirs, and food stalls offering a range of local delicacies.
One of the highlights of the festival is the Kenu and Kundu race, which sees teams from different villages compete in long-distance races in their traditional canoes. The races are highly competitive and are a source of great pride for the people of Milne Bay. There are also other canoe-related events, including traditional sailing races and demonstrations of canoe-building techniques.
Another major feature of the festival is the cultural performances, which showcase the rich heritage of the region. These performances include traditional dances, music, and storytelling, and are an excellent opportunity to learn about the culture and traditions of the people of Milne Bay.
The festival also provides a platform for local artists to showcase their work, with art exhibitions and competitions taking place throughout the event. Visitors can see a range of traditional and contemporary artwork, including sculptures, paintings, and carvings.
Overall, the Kenu and Kundu Festival is a must-visit event for anyone interested in the culture and traditions of Papua New Guinea. It is a vibrant and exciting celebration of the unique heritage of the people of Milne Bay, and a chance to experience the warmth and hospitality of this beautiful region.