The National, Thursday 05th July, 2012
THE 11th Festival of Pacific Arts saw one of the biggest opening ceremonies in its history in Honiara, Solomon Islands, on Monday.
Thousands of people from all over the country packed the Lawson Tama stadium to see the biggest event this country has witnessed.
The festival was officially opened by Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo in front of a record crowd.
This year’s theme “Culture and harmony through nature” was on display as delegates from 23 countries and cultural groups from the host country united as one Pacific family.
Lilo reminded the Pacific island countries that the festival was a unique event that brought together Pacific arts, tradition and culture.
He said it was a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures in the Pacific.
“This event is a manifestation of beauty and colour that distinguishes the Pacific culture from the rest of the world,” he said.
He said for more than 40 years, the event had brought together people in the Pacific into sharing songs, dances, music, arts, tradition and culture.
Lilo paid tribute to the Pacific Islands forefathers for their initiative in coming up with the idea.
Fiji hosted the first festival in 1972.
The programme, which ended with a spectacular display of fireworks, brought together thousands as each participating country was given 10 minutes to present a dance and gifts to the host country.
The two-week event is set to be a blockbuster as more cultural displays are expected.