Festival of Pacific Arts in Review

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By Stephanie Jano Edward
FSM’s Media Representative
June 8, 2016
Guam--After two extraordinary weeks of non-stop cultural festivities in blistering heat, the Pohnpei delegation is finally back on home ground.
The last week of the Festival of Pacific Arts (FestPac) went by in a blur, as performers and artists delivered their final performances and pieces. The festival huts bustled with activity as members of other delegations and FestPac attendees roamed and shopped their traditional wares. The live musical bands from each delegation also gave stellar last performances for FestPac attendees, closing the Village hours after the designated closing hours. Everyone felt the subtle change in tone of the FestPac, a bittersweet aura, as it had become our home away from home for the past couple of weeks.
In the last week of the FestPac, the Pohnpei delegation continued to proudly display Pohnpei’s culture with demonstrations of the traditional sakau ceremony, presided over by Wasalapalap, Soukisehleng, Nahnmwarki en Kitti and Nahnalek Kitti. After the demonstrations, Senator Miguel, serving as Master of Ceremony for the demonstration invited audience members to try the sakau. The audience poured in, men and women, adults and children alike, to try the numbing concoction. After the tasting, many came by the Pohnpei hut asking to buy bottles of sakau to enjoy on their own time. Unfortunately, we were unable to sell bottles of sakau due to time restraints and lack of manpower to prepare the sakau in time to sell each evening.

Pohnpei’s performing artists were also a big hit at the FestPac, with numerous requests for extra performances at the Pohnpei Hut. Despite exhaustion from the heat of the day and the previous performances during the day, the Mwoakilloa delegates were always ready and willing to perform the Jipwiki Parano for anyone requesting it. They became a crowd favorite at any venue they performed at, rivaling the ever- popular delegates from Rapa Nui and Cook Islands.
The Pohnpei delegation, led by Governor Peterson was also able to leave a friendship token for the people of Guam in the newly-built Guam Museum. In a short ceremony, Governor Peterson, on behalf of the people of Pohnpei presented a traditional peitehl and sakau to be left on display in the Museum.
The closing ceremony of the FestPac 2016, June 4 was a momentous event with delegations entering the stadium for the last time to bid farewell to everyone. It was a grand and bittersweet event for all participating countries since the event meant the end of a two-week celebration of cultures and heritage with newly-made friends.

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President Christian and Governor Peterson led the FSM delegation towards center stage to give their final farewell.
The Pohnpei delegation would like to extend our sincerest gratitude and appreciation to the people of Guam and the participating countries in the FestPac for the experience and the privilege of showcasing our heritage and culture with everyone. We would also like to thank the Pohnpei community of Guam for the support throughout the FestPac from the welcoming to the closing of the event and all the needs in-between.
This was a spectacular event, one that will not soon be forgotten and solidifies the need to preserve and enhance our understanding and our pride in our own distinct cultures.
The Festival of Pacific Arts will be hosted by Hawaii in 2020.