Trobriand Yam Festival | Milne Bay Province, PNG

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Province: Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea

Town: Alotau

Area: 14,345 km2

Languages:  five different languages

Population:  210,412 approx.                       

Trobriand Island is one of the seven groups of islands which make up the Milne Bay Province, situated at the extreme eastern end of Papua New Guinea. The Woodlark, Laughlan, Louisiade Archipelago, Conflict Group; Samarai Group and the D’Entrecasteaux Group are the other six islands which make up the Island Province of Milne Bay.

One of the best locations to enjoy the charms of the friendly and peace loving Milne Bay people is the low-lying Trobriand Islands. Their unique social system is dominated by hereditary chieftains who continue to wield tremendous power and influence, although inheritances and lines of power are passed through the female side of the family.

From June-August the Milamala Yam Festival is held. It is the time of the year when the Trobriand’s harvest their yam. It starts with a procession of men carrying the newly harvested yam from the garden storage hut to the village yam houses, while the women ahead sing      and dance.

During the festival, traditional rites are observed. It was from Malinowski’s anthropological studies of the customs and sexual practices during this time that the Trobriands became known as The Islands of Love.

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