The National Canoe and Kundu Festival is an annual event held in Papua New Guinea to celebrate the country’s rich culture and traditions. The festival showcases the importance of canoes and kundus, traditional instruments used by many tribes in the country.
The festival is held in the city of Alotau, the capital of Milne Bay Province, which is located on the southeastern tip of Papua New Guinea’s mainland. The event typically takes place in November and runs for three days. In 2023, the festival is scheduled to take place from November 17th to November 19th, while in 2024, it is set to occur from November 15th to November 17th.
2018 National Kenu & Kundu Festival. Photo courtesy of Milne Bay Tourism Bureau
The festival attracts people from all over the country, who come to witness the traditional dances, songs, and other performances. It is a colorful and vibrant event, with participants wearing traditional costumes and adorned with body paint. One of the highlights of the festival is the canoe race, where participants compete in various categories, including men’s and women’s races.
The kundu, a traditional drum made from wood, is also an important part of the festival. Participants play the instrument to provide a musical backdrop to the dances and other performances. The kundu is often decorated with intricate designs and is considered a symbol of cultural identity.
In addition to the canoe race and musical performances, the festival also features exhibitions of traditional crafts, including woodcarvings, weaving, and pottery. Visitors can also sample local food and drinks, including sago pancakes and coconut milk.
One of the objectives of the festival is to promote cultural tourism in Papua New Guinea. It is an opportunity for visitors to learn about the country’s rich cultural heritage and the diversity of its people. The festival provides a platform for local communities to showcase their traditions and to interact with people from other parts of the country and the world.
The National Canoe and Kundu Festival is an important event in Papua New Guinea’s cultural calendar. It celebrates the country’s unique cultural heritage and promotes tourism and economic development. The festival provides an opportunity for people to come together to celebrate their shared identity and to appreciate the diversity of their country.