One of the interesting cultural traditions in PNG is called a "sing sing." Basically, it is a big celebration of something really important such as a bride price, compensation, or peace ceremony.
Today I experienced my first sing sing. I drove Big Blue (the cruiser) picked up Nykki and Matt (two of our volunteers) and their daughter Miriam. Jonathan is a local and was our tour guide for the day. We headed down the Minj road about thirty minutes or so to the site of the sing sing. (Wow, I feel like such a grown up missionary.)
The reason for today's celebration was that one of the local tribes would be giving 21 cows to a neighboring tribe. Rumor had it that an elephant would also be making an appearance. Once upon a time these tribes were enemies, so this gift of cows was a sign of continued friendship between them.
Our first stop was at the place where the cow exchange and feast would occur. There was a several story tall tower of plants and flowers and food to mark the actual site. We also got a peak at the infamous cows grazing in a field (their last meal). There was no evidence of an elephant, and I wonder if there has ever been an elephant in PNG. A few kilometers back toward Kudjip, the celebration was underway. Participants dressed in traditional costumes made of leaves and feathers and shells and more leaves. Their faces were painted with a rainbow of colors. The feathered head dresses were particularly impressive, some of them with entire birds (not live ones) perched on top. Apparently they are passed down through the generations from father to son. Each of these traditional costumes is particular to the part of the country where the tribe or person comes from. The sing singers all danced (or jumped) mostly in a circle and sang some sort of song about going to get the cows.
The whole thing was quite a site! I have some pictures to share, although they really don't do it justice. Someday you will just have to come and see for yourself.
"Speak to one another with songs, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
~ Ephesians 5:19-20