Fire Danc­ing, New Guinea

Vacations & Travel - - Global Adventures -

The iconic masks worn by the Bain­ing peo­ple are made from bam­boo, leaves, grass, bark and cloth and used only once be­fore they’re burned or dis­carded. The fire dance it­self is tra­di­tion­ally per­formed by young men as an ini­ti­a­tion into adult­hood; women and chil­dren were long for­bid­den from watch­ing. Dances are also per­formed to cel­e­brate child­birth, in re­mem­brance of the dead, and to cel­e­brate the com­ing of the an­nual har­vest. To­day, visi­tors to Pa­pua New Guinea are in­vited to watch the Bain­ing Fire Dance dur­ing fes­ti­val sea­son, but you should be aware that this is still an im­por­tant cul­tural cer­e­mony and not a tourist spec­ta­cle; keep a re­spect­ful dis­tance from the fire – the dancers fre­quently run through the fire and kick pieces of flam­ing wood into the air. A spec­tac­u­lar sight, but not worth los­ing an eye over.

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