Garamut launched for festivals

Kayan village of Bogia District in the Madang Province recently held a once in a blue moon ceremony to unveil its garamut and masks for performance in festivals for this year.

It was an initiation into the community to exhibit and showcase before going into an actual show or festival out of the village, as per most of the traditions of villages in Madang Province.

The elders and leaders of the Kayan Community organized this event as part of their traditional rituals, but also to give a feel to the young men and women in their community, of how such events are hosted and performed so that they can learn and promote their culture.

Caspar Bas, a “Kukurai” (Revered Chief) in the society has been promoting his culture and tradition to outside regions, in the hope that the culture must not fade with modern transitions. He urged the youths to ensure they participate and continue to carry forward their culture, so that it may not diminish with time.

As is the case with so many customs, traditions and cultures in the country, as modernization advances, many younger generations tend to gradually lose their cultural heritage and identity. They may not know their folk tales, how to speak their languages, dances associated with different rituals, their customs and traditions.

This is due to the fact that parents are not passing on these vital rites and practices to their children. A community resource leader scolded parents of the children that performed during the ceremony, calling them out for not passing on the necessary knowledge and skills to their children and not performing with them.

He urged parents to stand behind their children to promote the Kayan way of life so that their culture must not die.

Another leader also called upon the youth population to take heed of the performances and learn from it so that in the near future they may be able to perform as well. Youths are encouraged to build their own garamut as it is a must within the community for communication purposes.

The garamut is a significant aspect of the Kayan villagers, as is the case with many of our rural societies. The garamut is used as a medium of communication for announcements of deaths, warfare, meetings, gatherings, etc... Mr Jon, a village elder stressed upon the need for every household to have a garamut in their houses.

The mini exhibition was important as they showcased their sacred masks (Tumbuan) which rarely comes out of the hausman, and the garamut, an everyday occasion resource of the community.

This is in preparation for a proposed exhibit to be staged in Bogia District. Then a festival to be held in Madang District as per confirmation from the Tourism and Promotions Authority Cultural Bureau Office.

Their anticipation is that, they may be selected from the Madang District event to represent Madang Province during the National Indigenous Business Forum to be held in Port Moresby, in November of this year.

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