10 Various Traditional Papuan Ceremonies and the Philosophy Behind Them!

Papua traditional ceremonies – Papua is one of the largest provinces in Indonesia and is located in the eastern region of Indonesia. Besides having abundant nature, Papua is also rich in culture and traditions.

Like other regions in Indonesia, Papua is also steeped in hereditary customs and still preserves its traditions to this day.

This tradition, which is still maintained by the Papuan people, includes traditional Papuan ceremonies which are carried out at certain moments. Papuan traditional ceremonies are currently not just ceremonies, but also a tourist attraction for tourists.

So, what are the traditional Papuan ceremonies that are still sustainable today? What is its uniqueness and the philosophy behind it? Check out the various traditional Papuan ceremonies and their philosophy below!

Various Papuan Traditional Ceremonies and Their Philosophy

1. Papuan Traditional Ceremonies: Stone Burning, Ritual Cooking Together

The first Papuan traditional ceremony is the stone burning ceremony which is a form of gratitude for the people of Papua. This ceremony is a tradition, in which the Papuan people carry out a cooking ritual together.

In its development, this stone burning ceremony has different names, such as Barapen in Jayawijaya, Kit Oba Isago in Wamena, and Mogo Gapil in Paniai.

Usually, the stone burning ceremony is performed by inland tribes such as Nabire, Baliem Valley, Central Mountains, Paniai, Bintang Mountains, Yahukimo and Dekai. Historically, the stone burning ceremony for people in the central highlands of Papua is a fast for burning pork.

However, as a form of tolerance, currently the people of Papua do not have to or do not always burn pigs, sometimes they also burn cows, goats and chickens.

The Batu Bakar ceremony is carried out to welcome news of happiness, such as the implementation of traditional marriages, births, the coronation of tribal chiefs, and gathering soldiers when going to war.

In addition, the stone burning ceremony is also a symbol of the simplicity possessed by the Papuan people who always uphold equal rights, justice, sincerity, cohesiveness, honesty, and sincerity that brings peace.

The stone burning ceremony is called stone burning, because the procession burns stones until the stones are hot, then when the stones are hot, then people will pile food on top of them to be cooked until cooked.

2. Papuan Traditional Ceremonies: Planting Sasi, the Traditional Ceremony of Death by the Marind Anim Tribe

The traditional ceremony of planting sasi is a traditional death ceremony that developed in the Merauke Regency area and is carried out by the Marind tribe or the Marind-Anim tribe. The Marind tribe is in the vast plains region of West Papua.

The word anim in the naming of the Marind Anim tribe means male and the word anum means female. The population of this tribe is estimated at 5000 to 7000 inhabitants.

Sasi is a type of wood which is the main medium in this series of traditional death ceremonies. Sasi wood is planted for approximately 40 days after the death of someone in the area. The sasi wood will then be revoked, after reaching the thousandth day it is planted.

The sasi planting ceremony is always carried out by the Marind tribe and has an impact on the results of typical Papuan wood carvings which are well known to foreign countries.

Like the stone burning ceremony, the planting sasi ceremony also has a philosophy or special meaning for the Marind people. The meaning stored in the sasi planting ceremony is as follows.

  • Typical carvings originating from Papua, symbolizing the presence of the ancestors.
  • The sasi planting ceremony is a sign of the state of the heart for the community
  • Papua, for example, is like expressing sadness when someone dies.
  • As a symbol of the beliefs of the people with special motifs such as animals, humans and plants carved on wood.
  • As a symbol of beauty in the form of masterpieces and works of art made by the people of Papua and representing memories from their ancestors.

The Papuan people who carry out the sasi planting ceremony believe that carvings on sasi wood have several special meanings, such as the presence of ancestral spirits, a symbol of belief in living things and a symbol of beauty and works of art.

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In the process of the Tanam Sasi ceremony, the community will perform a traditional dance called the Gatsi Dance. Gatsi Dance is one of the typical dances of the Marind Tribe.

This Gatsi dance is performed only when the traditional Tanam Sasi ceremony takes place and the ear tusu festival, this is because the Gatsi Dance has a special meaning, namely that the people of the Marind Tribe always comply with the cultural customs that exist in the community and help preserve the traditions of the Marind Tribe people. During the show, the musicians will play a traditional musical instrument called Tifa.

Tifa is a musical instrument that has a shape like a small drum or dogdog. In addition, tifa is also considered very special because it is made of milk wood. This wood is a hardwood that can only be found in the forest areas of West Papua. Meanwhile, the drum part of the tifa is made from monitor lizard or deer skin which has been processed to produce a musical sound.

3. Papuan Traditional Ceremonies: Wor, Rituals to Ask for Protection

The Wor ceremony is a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation by the Biak tribe, namely tribes that inhabit various regions in Papua. The Wor ceremony can be interpreted as a traditional ceremony that has a relationship with the religious life of the Biak people, so that all kinds of social life aspects of the Biak people are often colored with Wor.

For Biak residents, the Wor ceremony is an obligation that must be carried out by the nuclear family by involving the husband’s and wife’s relatives. The goal is to beg and ask for protection for their child from the ruler of the universe.

The Wor ceremony is also believed by the people of Biak to protect a person every time there is a transition in his life cycle. Usually, the Biak people carry out the Wor ceremony to accompany the physical growth of children, from when they are still in the womb, from birth to old age or even death.

4. Papuan Traditional Ceremony: Death of the Asmat Tribe

A well-known Papuan traditional ceremony is the death ceremony by the Asmat tribe. The Asmat tribe is one of the tribes that has the largest population in Papua. Apart from being the largest tribe, the Asmat tribe also has several important rituals or ceremonies that are usually performed and one of them is the death ceremony of the Asmat tribe.

The Asmat people usually do not bury the bodies of tribe members who have died. They usually put the corpse on a mortar boat equipped with sago, then the corpse is allowed to flow into the sea leaving the corpse on woven bamboo until it finally decomposes.

After the corpses are left to become bones, then the Asmat people will store them on a tree. While the skull of the corpse will be used as a pillow by his family members. This is done as a form of affection, love from family members left behind.

The death ceremony is carried out by the Asmat people, because the Asmat people believe that death is not a natural thing, but rather a sign of the presence of disturbing evil spirits. Therefore, when someone is sick, Asmat residents will make a fence from nipa palm branches.

This tree made of nipa palm branches aims to drive away evil spirits that roam around the sick person and not approach the person. When that person is sick, people will just stay and crowd around him without giving medicine or food. It was only after the sick person died that the Asmat people would scramble to hug the corpse and roll their bodies out in the mud.

Then the tradition of the death of the Asmat tribe continues as described above.

5. Papuan Traditional Ceremony: Kiuturu Nandauw

In Papua, there are also several important special traditional ceremonies that are usually performed by parents for their children. Children in Papua will usually carry out a series of traditional ceremonies which have become a tradition passed down from generation to generation.

One of them is the Kiuturu Nandauw traditional ceremony or commonly called the Kakarukrorbun traditional ceremony. This traditional ceremony is the first haircut ceremony performed by children when they turn 5 years old.

6. Traditional Ear Piercing Ceremony: Ero Era Tu Ura

The traditional Papuan ceremony, ear piercing or also called mam Ero Era Tu Ura is a traditional ceremony performed by children aged three to five years to educate their ears.

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This ceremony will be carried out and led by a shaman named Aebe Siewi and attended by the relatives of the child who will be pierced as well as neighbors.

The child who will undergo the ear piercing ceremony will later sit on a mat and be surrounded by other invited children. Then, the child’s ears will be pierced using a special tool.

The Ero Era Tu Ura ceremony is held to protect the child’s ears. Because the Papuan people believe that the ear is a hearing aid that must be maintained. The Papuan people also hope that children who have had their ears pierced always listen to good sounds and not bad ones.

7. Catching Fish in the Sea: Snap Mor

The next Papuan traditional ceremony is a tradition of catching fish in receding sea water. This Papuan traditional ceremony is called Snap Mor and is usually carried out by the Papuan people of the Biak tribe in groups.

Snap Mor is carried out when the sea water is receding, which is around July to August. The Snap Mor traditional ceremony is one of the signs that the Bika people have knowledge about the right and appropriate time to catch fish.

Not only that, the Snap Mor tradition contains the value of togetherness and is a form of gratitude for the Biak people for the blessings and gifts that have been bestowed by God Almighty.

8. Papua Traditional Ceremony of Iris Ears: The Nasu Palek Tradition

This Papuan traditional ceremony is considered quite extreme. The Nasu Palek traditional ceremony is a tradition of cutting ears carried out by the people of the Dani tribe.

The Nasu Palek tradition is carried out as a form of grief or sadness when a family member dies. For the Dani people, each reduced ear lobe is a form of respect for mothers, fathers and siblings who have died.

9. Iki Palek Tradition

This traditional ceremony is still related to the Nasu Palek traditional ceremony, in fact this traditional ceremony is quite well known because it is considered extreme. The difference with the Nasu Palek traditional ceremony, the Iki Palek traditional ceremony is a finger cutting ceremony.

The finger cutting ceremony will be held when a family member dies. The goal is the same as the Nasu Palek traditional ceremony, namely as a form of sadness or grief over the departure of family members. This tradition is carried out, because according to the Dani people, crying alone is not enough to represent the sadness felt by someone. In addition, the Dani people also think that losing a family member is like losing some of their strength.

The Iki Palek ceremony is carried out by cutting a knuckle as a symbol of grief due to the departure of those closest to you. The process of cutting one finger knuckle, is usually done using an ax or traditional knife or you can also bite the finger until it breaks.

In general, the Iki Palek ceremony is only performed by women. However, sometimes men also perform the Iki Palek ceremony.

10. Biak Tribe Marriage

The people of the Biak Tribe in Papua are known to have arranged marriages for their children since they were small. Before holding a wedding ceremony, usually the Biak people will undergo a series of processions starting from proposal or senepen, application or fakfuhen until finally carrying out the wedding process.

In general, marriages carried out by the Biak people are quite simple. Just like weddings in general, the bride and groom will be decorated using traditional clothes. Meanwhile, when the wedding reception is usually held at the groom’s house.

The wedding process of the Biak Tribe bride will begin by handing over heirlooms first, for example machetes, arrows and spears between the two parties.

After the process is complete, the bride and groom will be given a cigarette which must be smoked by the two in turn while accompanied by prayers and incantations chanted by tribal elders. After the ceremony is over, the two families will eat together.

As previously explained, before the wedding ceremony begins, there is a procession that must take place beforehand, namely delivering the dowry to the prospective bride from the prospective groom.

This one procession is called the Aratem ceremony. During the trip to deliver the dowry, the entourage of the groom’s family will be accompanied by various dances and songs.

So, those are the various traditional Papuan ceremonies that are still sustainable today, with the philosophy and reasons why these traditional ceremonies are carried out. If Sinaumed’s is interested in reading more about the unique traditions that exist in Indonesia or about the conditions in Papua, Sinaumed’s can read the books available at sinaumedia.com so that you have #MoreWithReading information.

Author: Khansa

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