WE have about six million people with 800 different languages.
Our country has a rich cultural diversity.
The impact of modernisation has brought changes to Papua New Guinea but the majority of our people, from the highlands to the coastal, remains dependent on subsistence farming and lives in small villages.
Much of the inherited social structure, from matters affecting gardening to marriage and death, remains unchanged.
The responsibility for the day to day work of gardening and caring for children and animals still lies with the women.
Social units are based on family, clan and tribe.
Ownership of material wealth is vested in the household and controlled by a male elder.
Wealth is not traditionally accumulated for its own sake but could be given away with elaborate ceremony, creating prestige for the giver and placing obligations on the receiver.
This still holds true in today’s society and makes PNG a unique nation.
Ancient rituals are still performed on important social events.
These elaborate ceremonies are normally presided over by the elders of the clan, with warriors painted and decorated in bright colours, feathers and shells.
Today, each province has its own cultural festivals and regional shows where groups are invited to perform and visitors have the opportunity to glimpse the many visual and performing arts of PNG.
Among the popular shows include the Hiri Moale in Port Moresby every September, the Mt Hagen show in August and the Goroka show every September.
To celebrate the 35th independence, many schools, both local and international, put on shows or invite students came in different styles and colours to commemorate the occasion.
Ronny Knox Angu