By Rebecca Drew
SPECTACULAR pictures and video footage show the ancient tradition of fire dancing that is performed only by the men of one of Papua New Guinea’s original tribes.
The explosive footage shows the men of the Baining People expressively dancing in traditional masks through the flames causing sparks to fly high into the sky.
Other incredible images show the men dancing around the fire under the moonlight and gathered together showing off their incredible costumes.
The stunning photographs were taken by Roy Mangersnes and the video was shot by Richard Sidey on a trip to Melanesia.
“Among many great sightings one of the highlights was the incredible Baining Firedance. This is an authentic cultural experience from Papua New Guinea that is the most intense experiences I have had in a long time,” said Roy.
“In short, the men dance with these elaborate masks in a trance like state, while others are drumming and chanting.
“They swirl around and once in a while run into the fire and kick it. By doing so they can enter the spirit world and bring all the problems of the tribe into the other side for advice.
“The mask represents different animals or parts of animals they have around them, from mosquitos to flying foxes.
“The massive masks are burnt after the ceremony.”
The Baining People make their elaborate masks from bark cloth, bamboo and leaves. They perform the dance to welcome births, celebrate the start of the harvest, to remember the dead and to initiate young men into adulthood.
Only men take part in the event, women and children don’t take part or watch the spectacle.