‘Traditional culture is our pride, identity’


CULTURAL shows help to preserve our traditional culture which is our pride and identity.
Traditions and cultures vary from place to place in Papua New Guinea with over 800-plus different languages scattered amongst the geographical diverseness and landscape.
Enga, however, is unique in that it has only one language spoken throughout the province.
Although our forefathers in the past faithfully keep their traditional values and norms, this cultural heritage is eroding away as many people throughout the country adapt to life in modern PNG.
Mitigating factors that add to this drop in the level of interest in things traditional include the fact that people migrate to other parts of the country and do not keep up with what was once truly Engan. Christianity and education have also helped shape changes in people’s beliefs and practices.
Despite this trend, some die-hard people of Enga still try their best to maintain some of their traditions from time past as was shown during Enga’s Annual Cultural Show according to long time show committee member and chairman of a local village court Chief Karato Lilyo.
Enga cultural show is an annual event organised by members of the show committee with the cooperate funding of Enga Provincial Government and other stakeholder agencies to promote and encourage young people to uphold their traditions and cultural heritage.
Chief Lilyo from Kaekin Pausa in Wapenamanda explained that the Enga provincial government has been hosting its annual cultural show for over 21 years where all people throughout the province as well as from other provinces were openly invited to showcase their traditional singsing and art as well.
However, the idea of bringing ‘outsiders’ has changed and the show is now strictly Engan only.
This new trend is in line with the theme, “Traditional Culture is our Pride and Identity.” Local groups and individuals from within the province have been encouraged to participate over the past two years.
Lilyo who was also a judge at the showground during the annual cultural show last year explained that the only exception was given to Hela province as its customs and traditions were similar to Enga. People from these two provinces are considered descendants of the same forefathers.
This departure away from the normal practice of involving other provinces was a bid by the Enga provincial government and the Show Society to compel and encourage Engans to preserve and be part of their culture.
The 22nd annual cultural show last year was staged at the Mommers Soccer Field in Wabag from 5th to 7th August.
More than 30 000 people packed the showground to participate.
Participants ranged from all five districts of Enga. Show organisers said show-goers were well behaved during the three day period, taking ownership of the show and showing much respect for visitors and tourists. All primary, secondary and tertiary schools in the province were encouraged to take part in a bid to get them to understand and learn so that traditions and cultures can be preserved and carried on by the young and in the generations to come.
Singsing groups dressed in their full traditional attire whilst people in arts or crafts staged exhibitions.
It was a successful event with most people just proud to be in amongst one big Enga family. Young people were also given the opportunity to see what their culture and tradition is all about and the event is a platform that they can learn all about the variety that makes Enga, Enga.