THE much anticipated Divine Word University (DWU) annual cultural day attracted a large number of Madang town residents to the university’s Madang campus.
This year for the first time, students from the new Hela and Jiwaka provinces proudly strutted their stuff; accompanied by proud parents who travelled the highlands highway just to be part of the event.
DWU Vice President Student Affairs, Ted Alau, hailed the occasion as a success and highly commended the students.
“Those who attended left with good memories” Mr Alau said. “I noticed that many of our overseas visitors took lots of pictures and they will have something to show friends and wantoks later.
“The dancing groups from the provinces were special and spectacular. The skill and artistry in the presentations were of high quality.
“I congratulate the students for a job well done,” Mr. Alau said.
He also acknowledged the contributions from staff, an example of good community service.
The university also highly appreciated the presence and support of parents who dedicated their time to be part of the event.
“We thank them for their support and contributions,” Mr. Alau said.
Some Simbu parents and relatives who bussed in were smeared with red clay in honour of the day.
“They (highlands students) appear more spectacular when their elders put the finishing touches on the face painting and traditional attire, “ said a bystander.
And that’s how it seemed to me as I walked around, seeing parents and relatives crouched over seated students to get the arrays of beautiful feathers aligned.
It was a proud moment for parents and relatives to see their young ones take to the arena to promote their culture.
The event, which has now no doubt become part of the Madang calendar, also featured neighbouring Solomon Islands students who stole the show with their panpipes and unique traditional attire.
DWU, a keen promoter of Melanesian culture, encourages students to value their traditions and cultural heritage.
The annual cultural day provides the avenue to get together to share heritage through songs, dancing and enactments of ceremonies.
This year’s event was managed by students with support from the university administration.
The university’s St Benedict campus at Wewak also observes the cultural day to coincide with St Benedict’s Day each 11 July.