Heritage Expeditions’ Expeditioners Witness Unique Ceremony in Papua New Guinea

Heritage Expeditions' Spirit of EnderbyBeing invited to witness a time-honoured ritual on a remote island in Papua New Guinea is something many travellers dream about and even fewer people ever get to experience.

That is exactly the invitation that greeted expeditioners aboard Heritage Expeditions’ recent ‘Papua New Guinea Explorer’. An area visited by the early-nineteenth century ethnographer Bronislaw Malinowksi, it is likely there have been few outsiders that have been fortunate to witness the ceremony where a newborn and parents are presented to the village for the first time following the birth.

After being welcomed via a traditional ‘Sing-Sing’ to Eiaus, an island village that sits snugly in the Louisiade Archipelago, expeditioners and locals alike gathered at a modest family house to witness the proceedings. Set amongst the garden where the family go about their daily lives, expeditioners and locals blended together as the mother and father were cleansed with hot water before being adorned in papapus palm leaves and having their faces painted by family members.

The ceremony occurs after an extended time of isolation from the rest of the village, so the excitement of meeting the newborn was palpable. Cheers broke out from locals and passengers as the newborn was brought out and placed in the father’s arms. Following the ceremony, those in attendance were offered a feast of tender pork stew, rice, yam, and tropical fruits as well as enjoying the buoyant atmosphere.
It was a huge honour bestowed upon the expedition to share in this special moment with the village and one that will live on in the memories of the expeditioners aboard.

Heritage Expeditions explores the islands and villages of Papua New Guinea to provide authentic and unique experiences. With a capacity of just 50 expeditioners on each voyage the ship ‘Spirit of Enderby’ can access islands, villages and waterways that larger ships often cannot reach. The small expeditioner numbers aboard also are conducive to a flexible daily programme allowing for the unique opportunities that present themselves as the voyage unfolds.

Papua New Guinea Explorer departs Rabaul/Kokopo, Papua New Guinea on 17 April 2017. 13-days starting from $6,500 USD.

(Heritage Expeditions)