by Edwin Fidelis – EM TV, Kokopo
Just as it has done in previous years the National Warwagira & Mask Festival in Kokopo has begun in earnest, with a colourful display of song and dance.
Kokopo residents converged on the Kokopo beachfront as early as 5am this morning to witness the arrival of Tumbuans on canoes, performing the sacred Tolai ritual dance, Kinavai.
It marks the opening of the Warwagira & Mask Festival.
The festival is one of the biggest cultural events on the East New Britain Provincial calender.
The festival began today and will continue through the next four days in Kokopo, and has so far attracted tourists from all around the world.
The festival seeks to promote and preserve unique masks and dances from within East New Britain Province, the New Guinea Islands and other parts of Papua New Guinea.
Some of the dances will be performed at night, notably the Baining Fire Dance.
The people of East New Britain said they want to ensure that they stay true to their unique culture, and this festival is a fantastic opportunity to do exactly that.