The Solomon Islands have welcomed 1500 participants to this year’s Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival in Honiara. The event runs from July 1- 10 in Honiara and will coincide with the country’s 40th Independence Anniversary celebrations.” The festival, held every four years, aims to promote and preserve Melanesian culture, as well as celebrate unique differences between participating nations.
This year’s theme is Past Recollection for Future Connections.
The Solomon’s director of government communication, George Herming, said hosting the event brings many benefits. “Through cultural interaction and creating knowledge and understanding of different Melanesian cultures which has resulted in a common understanding between participants as well as governments of Melanesian countries. So that’s one of the benefits and the other economic benefits of hosting the festival is that it generates revenue,” he said.
George Herming said the festival features cultural dance and music performances, as well as culinary arts and fashion. The Solomon Islands was the first Melanesian Spearhead Group country to host the festival back in 1998.
Vanuatu has sent 82 participants to the festival. The Daily Post Newspaper reported that under the festival theme of “Past recollections, future connections”, Vanuatu has also included young students from the French speaking secondary school, the Lycee Antoine de Bougainville.
The director of the Vanuatu National Cultural Council, Richard Shing, said young people have to be motivated about their customs and culture, as the future belongs to them. As well men and women with traditional knowledge will take part in symposiums to share their knowledge with an international audience.
Mr Shing said the idea of the Melanesian Arts Festival was to unite the people of the Melanesian nations through culture. He said now it is an opportunity to show the world Melanesia is made up of one people with many cultures.
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