Mount Hagen Sing-Sing, Papua New Guinea

Mt Hagen Sing-Sing ladies

And a big hand for the ladies at the Mt Hagen Sing-Sing. Striking, psychedelic and well-coordinated.

Highlands Sing-Sings

Wigman Combing his beard, Mt Hagen Sing-Sing

A wigman ensures his make-up is perfect.

Sing-Sings are held regularly throughout the Western Highlands and not often for tourist entertainment purposes. Generally these gatherings of clans in traditional costume with ritual dancing and chanting is performed for ceremonial reasons.

The most popular time for tourism to Mt Hagen is in August when the Mt Hagen Culture Show is held, with hundreds of different tribes present, each wearing their distinctive tribal outfits of feathers, plants, woven kilts, body paint and sometimes carrying weapons such as bows, arrows and little axes.

clan marching at Mt Hagen Sing-Sing

Tribal competitors of the Huli Wigmen – on the left with their little Kundu drums – do a thundering clan march past at Mt Hagen Cultural Show.

skeleton make up at Mt Hagen Sing-Sing

No idea which clan this is but the shock-night-attack concept works for me.

Asaro mud man at Mt Hagen Sing-Sing

The Asaro clan get ready for the show. Yes, there is a real tho’ expanded pig’s skull under the mud.

The small Asaro tribe apparently long ago set out to avenge defeat in an intertribal fight with a more numerous clan. To rebalance the odds they covered themselves with grey clay mud and grotesque masks based on pig skulls to frighten the crap out of their opponents. They were successful and ever since have appeared in the sing-sing so dressed.

The Asaro is one of about 50 tribes that travel long distances to attend one or both two-day sing-sings every year.

Mount Hagen and Goroka Sing-Sings (not much singing but plenty of posing! ) were introduced by the government in 1961 in an attempt to bring together in a peaceable gathering people notorious for their aggression.

In addition the Sing-Sings were able to offer an incredibly bizarre and colourful event for foreign tourists. Originally the authorities awarded prizes for best costumes/performances but the idea had to be abandoned as fights broke out over the results!

Wicked makeup at Mount Hagen Sing-Sing, Papua New Guinea

Trying to look menacing is the idea, not pretty. Success!

Traditional culture and beliefs remain strong in Mount Hagen and surrounding areas. In 2013 local women were reportedly burned alive after being accused of witchcraft.

Closeup of Colourful makeup at Mount Hagen Sing-Sing, Papua New Guinea

Hmm. No, too pretty. The beauty spot is so gay.

Summer weather in the Papua Highlands, June-August

The Mt Hagen Cultural Show is the biggest tourist attraction in PNG and takes place in August. It’s also near another attraction, the Baiyer River Bird Sanctuary.

Average high temperatures of about 28C (82F) and lows of 11C (52F).
These are the three lowest rainfall months but you should be prepared for some rain at least to fall every day.