Papua New Guinea Business and Tourism Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Chartered Accountants Papua New Guinea spacer
_ Home    Business Directory    Tours & Travel    Tok SAVE    Forum    PNG Photo Gallery    Contact Us
Papua New Guinea Forums   chat | profile | register | calendar | members | faq | search | forum home  
Papua New Guinea Forum : Powered by vBulletin version 2.3.2 Papua New Guinea Forum > Travel and Tourism in Papua New Guinea > The Journey to Paradise > “Fire eating Dance” – A new concept for New Ireland Malangan Festival
  Last Thread   Next Thread
Thread Post New Thread    Post A Reply
“Fire eating Dance” – A new concept for New Ireland Malangan Festival

…..the mysterious risky dancing since Tibetan ‘deadly dancing’ with king cobra

The newly introduced ‘rare fire-eating dance’ which will be staged two weeks from now during the New Ireland Malangan Festival is probably one the world’s most inexplicable and risky performances since the Tibetan ‘deadly dancing’ with the poisonous ‘King Cobra’.

However, while the deadly cobra dancing performed by young Tibetan mountain girls –usually referred to as ‘Dance priestesses’ - require a lady to perform certain dancing skills to captivate the two-meter king-sized deadly cobra (usually reported to mysteriously appear from nowhere to be kissed or rather engage in a deadly kiss with the young priestess), the fire eating dance is simply performed by swallowing the burning charcoals.

A sacred Malangan mask worn by one of the dancers from New Ireland province

Posted by: alison at 11-07-2003 12:27 AM Report this post to a moderator | IP: Logged | Edit/Delete Message | Reply w/Quote

The most amazing thing is that in both dances nothing happens as you would expect it. No. The cobra doesn’t bite after earning that kiss but simply glides away and nor as the hot burning charcoals burn the mouth of the dancer swallowing it.

Fire eating is likened to the now famous Baining Fire Dance of East New Britian province, where, dancers are known to tread/walk on burning coals with their bare fit without even getting burnt.

The fire eating dance is sort of like stage performances by magicians – we know from several documentaries that these are only tricks to make us believe that everything appear as it is when really it isn’t – but the fire eating which is sure to be a rare treat to visitors, is not trick at all. For one, it does take place during day time and there are no stages – just dancing grounds.

Lurang, one of the dancers, whose role was to protect the honoured guests from danger. The significance of the mask is to ward-off ill-fate or even death

Posted by: alison at 11-07-2003 12:37 AM Report this post to a moderator | IP: Logged | Edit/Delete Message | Reply w/Quote

This has been a closely guarded secret of the Imau villagers in the Namatanai district which is rarely watched and performed and will be performed publicly for the first since it is known to have existed.

The rare fire eating dance will certainly add new flavor to the Malangan Cultural Festival planned for July 17 – 19.
The dance is ‘sacred’ and like the Tibetan cobra dance, is only performed by a few chosen ones.

However, the concept of fire eating is not new as it has been performed several times in other provinces or places withing PNG by a few who knew the secrets of this unique are rarely seen cultural performances.

The Malangan dancers - there are many baffling performances during the Malangan Festival

Posted by: alison at 11-07-2003 12:54 AM Report this post to a moderator | IP: Logged | Edit/Delete Message | Reply w/Quote

In 1994, while a student at Nissan High School, I have watched a group of dancers from Nissan Island ( Green Island) or rather ‘someone’ referred to as ‘Sanguma man’ (ghost man) perform a similar act. ‘I have watched both frightened and completely mesmerized while this guy swallowed the burning charcoals without even flinching during a cultural show staged by our school.

What completely baffled me was the fact that there was no burnt or swell in the ‘sanguma man’s mouth as one would have expected, after the ritual dance was over.
As if this was not enough the sanguma guy reappeared again in one of the shows staged the following year and this time instead of fire he switched to ‘bottle eating’ or rather ‘bottle chewing’.

The typical dressing of New Irelanders as shown by the five men in the picture standing on the spectacular white sandy beach of New Ireland

Posted by: alison at 11-07-2003 01:36 AM Report this post to a moderator | IP: Logged | Edit/Delete Message | Reply w/Quote

I watched, again completely mesmerized as the sanguma guy chewed on the pieces of bottle he had broken earlier by planting his teeth right in the middle of it. Again there were no bloods and he remained unhurt. I could see the whole crowd was once again amazed at this ‘stupefying’ performance.

However, nobody except the performer knows the secrets of these baffling performances. These secrets are safe with the elders of the chiefs and are hardly passed around. It is really a closely guarded secret which is known only by the Imau villagers of Namatanai and the Pinnepel Islanders of Nissan Island in the North Solomons province.

This is no surprise since the Pinnepel islanders are known to have migrated from Namatanai in New Ireland. This also explains the identical cultures, dialect, skin color and physical appearance.


The Malangan chief - Chief Joel Pichia custodian of a culture passed on in pure Malagan tradition, which, neglected will see clan cohesion weakened. Chief Pichia are the preserver of closely guarded secrets like 'fire eating'

Posted by: alison at 11-07-2003 02:37 AM Report this post to a moderator | IP: Logged | Edit/Delete Message | Reply w/Quote

All times are GMT. The time now is 06:26 PM. Post New Thread    Post A Reply
  Last Thread   Next Thread
Show Printable Version | Email this Page | Subscribe to this Thread

Forum Jump:
Rate This Thread:

Forum Rules:
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
HTML code is OFF
vB code is ON
Smilies are ON
[IMG] code is OFF

< Contact Us - Papua New Guinea Business and Tourism Directory - Travel & Tourism - Photo Gallery - Kokoda Trail >

Copyright© 2000-2003 Matryx Limited.
Powered by: vBulletin Version 2.3.2 Copyright ©2000, 2001, Jelsoft Enterprises Limited.
Web Hosting by Quadra Hosting