Feature,  Travel

The Largest Tribal Gathering in the World

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By Kevin Johnson

In the small island country of Papua New Guinea, adhering to tradition isn’t quite the challenge that many countries face. Tradition permeates their way of life, from the rural inland villages of Goroka and Mount Hagan to the colonial coastal cities of Port Moresby and Lae. With untouched natural wonders including cascading falls, sweeping valleys, and fiery volcanoes, Papua New Guinea holds spectacles spanning the nation.

Plan to go during September for the annual Goroka festival, when more than 70 tribes gather for sing-sings—song and dance performances in ceremonial headdresses and body paint. Diversity thrives on the island nation with more than 800 languages, and this colorful celebration allows visitors a cultural showcase in what is considered the largest tribal gathering in the world.

No matter the time of year, vsitors are welcomed with open arms from a people with a culture like no other.

Kevin Johnson is a frequent contributor to National Geographic Travel. Follow him on Twitter.