Papua New Guinea Cultural Photos

 
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Papua New Guinea has a population of about six million people and a land area that is only slightly larger than California. With more than 850 distinct tribes, the population is arguably the most diverse in the world. More than 860 languages are spoken—more than in any other country. Only 12 percent of the population in Papua New Guinea lives in urban areas; the majority live in the highlands region.  
Credit: courtesy, Papua New Guinea Tourism 
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Tribes in PNG have their own distinct rituals and dances that involve elaborate dress and body painting. In the Southern Highlands Province, the Huli and Duna Wigmen wear colorful body paint and wigs made from hair donated by women in the tribe. These men prepare for a traditional dance, or 'sing sing.'  
Credit: courtesy, Papua New Guinea Tourism 
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Colorful headdresses are worn by many tribes during sing sings and are often decorated with beautiful feathers from the local birds of paradise. During sing sings, tribes may imitate the movement of birds; others may act out legendary battles.  
Credit: courtesy, Papua New Guinea Tourism 
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Visitors can watch sing sings at festivals throughout the country. Many festivals last several days, and the larger ones have thousands of participants. Here, a tribe performs its sing sing in Mt. Hagen, the capital of the Western Highlands Province. The most popular time to visit Mt. Hagen is during the annual festival, held the third weekend in August when hundreds of tribes from the region perform in distinctive traditional body paint and dress.  
Credit: courtesy, Papua New Guinea Tourism 
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On the island-province of New Britain, the men of the Baining tribe display the traditional masks worn in the Fire Dance. This dance may be performed to mark several occasions, such as the birth of a child and as a rite of passage for boys.  
Credit: courtesy, Papua New Guinea Tourism 
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An Asaro villager wears the traditional mud mask costume once worn to scare enemies and frighten opponents. The people in the Eastern Highlands Province have had more exposure to the outside world than those elsewhere in Papua New Guinea, and they often don't engage in traditional practices or wear traditional dress except during rituals.  
Credit: Stefano Scata/Photodisc/Getty 
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While traditional ways of life are no longer practiced in all villages, some areas of Papua New Guinea have been little affected by the outside world. This is the case particularly in the Southern Highlands Province, where the social systems are still intact. The province is one of the few places where the traditional way of life can be seen in everyday living.  
Credit: courtesy, Papua New Guinea Tourism 
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Kaibola men ride in a traditional trading canoe in the Trobriand Islands. Unlike other tribes, such as those in the highlands, the Trobriand tribes have a matrilineal social system. Men hold positions of authority but inherit their power through the mother. The yam is central to the culture and is celebrated during the summer Milamala yam festival, the biggest festival of the year.  
Credit: Corel 
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Markets are an important part of life in Papua New Guinea. In more remote regions, people will travel miles to the market, which is often the only place to buy, trade, or sell goods. Saturdays are often a big market day, but this street market in Madang bustles throughout the week. Madang is the capital of Madang Province, one of the more developed areas and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.  
Credit: courtesy, Papua New Guinea Tourism 
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Perhaps no other country in the world has a diversity of cultures like Papua New Guinea. Despite centuries of contact with European explorers and missionaries, a history of colonization, and serving as a military base for foreign powers during WWII, many of the tribes live as they have for millennia.  
Credit: courtesy, Papua New Guinea Tourism 
 
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