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Published on November 29, 2017

Examples of Asmat carving. Image © Adrian Berg/Creative Commons

The intricate wood carvings of Papua’s Asmat people take center stage in this cultural festival that takes place over five days at the beginning of October.

Asmat carvers believe their handicraft links their community with the spirit world, and place their art at the center of communal activities like ancestor worship: this is best seen in Asmat bisj poles, carved out of single nutmeg trees.

Apart from sculpture, other Asmat crafts like weaving, traditional song, and dance performances are presented during the cultural festival. As the festival comes to an end, some Asmat carvings are placed on auction for lucky visitors to take home.

The Asmat festival celebrations take place in and around the Asmat Museum of Culture and Progress.

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For similar festivals that train a spotlight on the local culture, visit Myanmar’s Tazaungdaing Light Festival; Malaysia’s Unesco World Heritage City Celebrations; the Philippines’ Bamboo Festival; Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival; and Vietnam’s Hoi An Festival. For other festivals in the month of October, visit Vietnam’s Kate Festival; Singapore’s Deepavali Light-up and Festivities; Laos’ Boun That Luang; and the Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix.