Every year during the second week-end of September, Port Moresby celebrates the birth of Papua New Guinea as an Independent State. A popular event that drapes the whole city with the national colors.
« This country and its people now enter independence and sovereignty and as from now we will be counted among the family of nations. » (Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, PNG’s first Prime Minister). With thoses words, on 16 September 1975, Papua New Guinea came to be!
Since then, this date is now a public holiday and commemorates the day the country gained independence from Australia. His Royal Highness,Prince of Wales representing Queen Elizabeth II, the British monarch,officiated the ceremony in Port Moresby where Australia’s flag was lowered and PNG’s flag was raised.The new country became a constitutional monarchy with membership of the British Commonwealth.
Every year on the 16th September, theexquisitely diverse State of Papua New Guinea celebrates its sovereignty. The festivities are nation wide however, there is no doubt that it’s in the capitale city, Port Moresbythat the celebrations are the biggest.
Celebrations run for three days annually in this diverese city, the 14th, 15th and 16th of September. These few days, the whole city is vibrating. All government departments, business houses and schools remain closed for the people to commemorate this special occasion. City residents flood the event venues where, cultural music, cultural dance, parades, street festival, craft markets, sports competitions and fireworks are organised throughout the three days.
The 16th of September start with a Flag-raising Ceremony at Independence Hill next to the National Parliament House at the break of dawn. Followed by a Unity March involvinf thousands of city residents, led by the National Capital District Governor, The PNG Royal Constabulary Pipping Band and High School Students. Celebrations from the previous days continue throughout the day.The national colours of the country – red, black and gold – are everywhere. Flags fly in the wind hanging on every street pole and from windows of homes and shops. Everybody will either be seen wearing PNG themed shirts, caps, meri blaus (dress-like blouses)and traditional costumes or carring a PNG bilum (bag) and basket. The whole country celebrate’s the joy to being ‘One People and One Nation’.