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Apart from the glittering beaches and soulful opera, Australia is rich in different aboriginal cultural heritages. Unlike the diminishing tribal patrimony throughout the world, Australians tribe culture has got a go with means of combining to the modern world, with their originality intact. Garma is significant tribal festival observed by Yolngu inheritance in north-east Arnhem Land, northern territory of Australia.

The word Garma stands for a place enriched with resources for many people. Every year in the month of August around 20 clan groups gather at the holly place called Gukula near Arnhem Land for their annual festival. This is a festival of sharing knowledge and culture. This is a festival of observing and unfurling the message of the holly Gukula land.

The ceremony is held by a not-for-profit group called Yothu Yindi. This group works for the welfare of the society of Yolngu. The fund rose by the selling of the tickets and other ways are directly used for the wellbeing of Yolngu people.

Held In: The Garma ceremony ground, Gukula, is 40 kilometers from the nearest township, Nhulunbuy, besides central Arnhem Highway. It is also 14 kilometers south east of Gove airport.

When: Garma festival is held around the month of August every year.

History: Yolngu is among world’s ancient civilization with a history of 40,000 years. Garma was started on the year 1988. Every year with the sound of Yidaki (didjeridu) the festival is started with a message to the Yolngu people to come together. The purpose of the festival is to share knowledge and culture. The Yolngu people believe in listening and learning from each other. Garma is exceptionally significant indigenous festival of Australia. It not only aims to encourage the tradition of world’s one of oldest living tribal group but, also to strengthen their economy.

Photo by Michael Coghlan licence CC 2.0 Garma Festival

Major Highlights of the Garma Festival

The festival not only provides a worldwide platform to the Yolngu creative people and traditional artists but, also let them make business. The major attractions of the festivals are

  • Festival starts in the early morning on the first day with traditional prayer.
  • Traditional dance “bunggul” is held for two hours before the sunset with “manikay”, song.
  • At the evening the organizers held musical performances.
  • Workshops are held to provide opportunities to the guests to come close to the customs of Yolngu people. Classes are held on Yolngu matha language, their kinship system, yidaki and Yolngu creative writings.
  • Gapan gallery exhibits some enormous piece of art made by Yolngu artists and let the visitors interact with artist at Gapan space.
  • The organizers held opportunities to come across Yirkala organization and meet the craftsman and artists at the famous Buku-Larrngay Mulka centre.
  • Indigenous films are also screened by the organizers.

Garma Festival, 2016

Garma festival will start on 29th July 2016 and end on 1st August 2016. Bookings are open on the official site of Yothu Yindi. The ceremony is expected to be more colorful and dazzling as special editions are added.

Feature image Photo by Mertie License CC 2.0

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