MELANESIAN CULTURE ON PARADE IN SUVA

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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, October 8) – The city of Suva, Fiji came alive yesterday as the colours of the Melanesian people were displayed in various ways in a march through the capital's main street under the scorching sun.

People from all walks of life lined both sides of the city center to witness a colourful parade by delegates to the 3rd Melanesian Festival.

The delegation from the highland tribe of Papua New Guinea led the march with their traditional costume and chants. The PNG manus or coastal people displayed their traditional dance on a float decorated with beetle nuts.

John Make, 46, of Newtown outside Suva, said he had never witnessed a parade of different cultures at one time.

He said Fiji was fortunate to have hosted the event.

"I have a bit of Solomon blood in me and I'm glad that I am able to bring my two children down to see some of the cultures and tradition of our descendants,"he said.

The Solomon Island delegation serenaded the procession with their harmonious bamboo pipes and melodious string band.

New Caledonians lit up the city with their bright orange dresses and shirts accompanied by their war chants performed by the men.

The Vanuatu delegation showcased the relationship between people and their environment with the colourful masks they were wearing.

Ratu Popi Cakobau, the grandson of the late Vunivalu of Bau Ratu Sir George Cakobau, led the Fijian delegation.

The delegation showed off the chiefly costumes of some of the provinces in Fiji.

Akesa Tinai, of Dravuwalu in Kadavu, said she was amazed to learn about the different costumes from the provinces in Fiji.

Tailevu, Bua, Ra, Kadavu, Cakaudrove and Ba were the six provinces that showcased their traditional attire.

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