13th FESTPAC 2024 Celebrates Grand Finale

In a finale punctuated by traditional dances and tributes, the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts & Culture (FestPAC) drew to a close in Hawaiʻi, marking a historic first for the islands as hosts.

Under the theme "Ho‘oulu Lāhui: Regenerating Oceania," the two-week celebrated the diverse cultures of the Pacific with a vibrant display of resilience and creativity.

The festivities kicked off with a spectacular Wehena at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where delegates from across the Pacific were welcomed with open arms amidst lush Hawaiian landscapes. Traditional dances and ceremonial rituals showcased the rich tapestry of Pacific heritage, setting the tone for a festival that aimed to bridge cultural divides.

A highlight came with the Waʻa ceremony at Kualoa Bay, where majestic voyaging canoes symbolized the festival's emphasis on maritime heritage and cultural continuity. Hundreds gathered to witness this symbolic gesture, underscoring FestPAC's role in connecting Pacific communities through shared traditions.

From the Hawaiʻi Convention Centre to Waikīkī Beach Walk, Honolulu became a bustling stage for heritage dances and visual arts exhibitions, each venue pulsating with the rhythms of Pacific creativity.

Papua New Guinea emerged as a standout, captivating audiences with intricate dances and crafts that left a lasting impression on festival-goers.

The climax of FestPAC Hawaiʻi 2024 arrived with a stirring Panina at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where the Parade of Nations embodied unity amidst cultural diversity. Participants from diverse island nations reflected on the festival's impact in fostering cross-cultural dialogue and preserving traditional knowledge.

"The point of this festival is that we come from one ocean; it does not divide us but connects us," remarked one participant, encapsulating the spirit of collaboration that defined the event.

As the torch passed to New Caledonia, set to host FestPAC in 2028, organizers reaffirmed their commitment to preserving and promoting Pacific cultural heritage. FestPAC Hawaiʻi 2024 not only celebrated Hawaiʻi's milestone as first-time hosts but also underscored the resilience of Pacific Islanders in the face of global challenges.

In a 12-minute retrospective, FestPAC Hawaiʻi 2024 encapsulated a journey of cultural exchange, creativity, and unity. With FestPAC 2024 now a cherished memory, the Pacific looks forward to the next chapter in New Caledonia, continuing the legacy of celebrating and preserving Pacific traditions worldwide.

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