Papua Culture Indonesia – Traditions
Indonesia is a country that consists of several big sized islands and thousands smaller sized islands.
Among many great islands in Indonesia, Papua might be one of the most interesting large sized islands in Indonesia.
Papua is the easternmost island in Indonesia that is also very popular for its natural beauty.
The nature in Papua has been attracted many tourists for very long time, not only tourists from other cities in Indonesia, but also tourists from other countries outside Indonesia. There are so many Indonesian tribes and clans that you can find in Papua. Two of the most popular tribes in Papua are Asmat Tribe and Dani Tribe.
There are still many other tribes that are scattered in various parts of this island, including tribes that became parts of Melanesia Cluster. Papua is not only popular for its nature but this island is also very rich of local culture and traditions that might be quite unique for some people.
Here are several of Papua Culture Indonesia, as follows:
Traditional House of Papua
People who live in Papua have very unique culture and they still maintain their traditional culture until today. These people live in quite unique way that might be very interesting for people who came from outside of this island, especially people who came from big cities in Indonesia such as Jakarta or Bandung.
The way Papuan people live is also very interesting for people from other countries as well. One of the most interesting parts of Papua culture is traditional house in Papua. Most people in Papua still live in traditional houses that might have different style and design based on in which tribe the houses are built.
Meanwhile, one of the types of traditional houses that can be found in Papua is called Honai. Honai is a traditional house in Papua that is occupied by Dani Tribe. This type of house consists of two floors. The first floor of this house is used as bedroom while the second floor is used as living room, dining room, and workshop. People of Dani usually make their crafts on this workshop.
Honai house has very small door. There are no windows in Honai house. The roof of Honai house is made of grass. Honai house shaped like mushroom with height about 4 meters. The size of Honai house is about 12 to 16 meter square.
A long time ago, the boys of Dani Tribe are required to stand guard in Honai house from night until the morning comes while the girls are allowed to sleep in Honai house within group. Besides used as a place for living, there are also houses that are used as animism temple. This type of house that is used as temple usually shaped like cone that stand high up.
Papuan Traditional Dresses
Just like the houses, the traditional dresses in Papua may also vary depends on which tribe these people live. These days some people in Papua are no longer wear their traditional dresses and choose to wear modern clothes instead. However, in some parts of Papua, people still dress in traditional dress.
Papuan men usually wear traditional dress such as head accessories, necklace that is made of animal’s teeth and bones, necklace that is made of seashells, traditional belt, and tufted sarong.
Papuan men usually also use accessories such as traditional spear and shield with unique patterns along with their traditional dresses.
Papuan women wear traditional dresses that are quite similar with the men. These women usually wear tufted dress to cover their body, necklace that is made of seashells and animal’s teeth, and accessories on their arm.
Traditional Dances of Papua
Like any other ethnic groups in Indonesia, Papuan people also have their traditional dances as well. There are several traditional dances that you can find if you visit Papua.
Each tribe on this island might have different traditional dances. One of the most popular traditional dances in Papua is Welcome Dance. It describes the happiness of people of Papua in welcoming the guests that came to their island.
This traditional dance also describes that people of Papua respect the guests that came to their island as well.
Other traditional dance that can be found in Papua is Musyoh Dance. Musyoh Dance is a sacred dance that is usually performed in order to drive out the spirit of dead people who died due to accident. Mbes Dance is also a popular traditional dance in Papua. This dance is also used to welcome the guests that came to Papua.
The unique thing about this traditional dance is the part when the guest is carried on a large shield in lying position. People perform this dance are accompanied by music that is created using Tifa, traditional musical instrument of Papua. Tifa can create dynamic rhythm that is combined with unique shouts that are created by people who perform this traditional dance. Mbes Dance is usually performed by Asmat Tribe.
Traditional Weapons of Papua
Other interesting part of Papua culture is its traditional weapons. There are several traditional weapons that are commonly used by people who live in Papua.
The most common traditional weapon that is used by Papuan people is a dagger.
Papuan dagger is very unique since this weapon is made of the bones of cassowary bird. The cassowary feathers are also used as accessory on the base of the dagger which makes the dagger looks even more exotic.
The main traditional weapon that is used by people of Papua is bow and arrows. The bow is usually made of the combination of wood and bamboo while the bowstring is usually made of rattan. The arrow is usually made of bamboo, wood, or kangaroo bones. Bow and arrows are usually used for hunting. Sometimes this weapon is also used in combat as well.
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Unique Traditions in Papua
There are several unique traditions in Papua that you might not find in other parts of Indonesia. These traditions are:
Barapen is one of the oldest traditions in Papua. Barapen is usually performed as symbol of brotherhood and gratitude.
However, in some parts of Papua, Barapen is also performed in funerals as well. This tradition is basically an event when people gather around and cook together.
There are various types of food that are usually prepared in Barapen such as cassava, sweet potato, meats, and vegetables.
These foods are prepared using stones that have been preheated.
- Finger Cutting Tradition
This is also a very unique tradition that you can find in Papua. You only can find this tradition in Dani Tribe who live on Baliem Valley area.
Meanwhile, this tradition is performed by Dani Tribe as the symbol of grief due to the loss of family member.
Its also performed in order to prevent the bad luck that caused the death of family member as well.
After the funeral, the family members who are grieving will cut one of their fingers using knife, hatchet, or machete.
Ararem is one of the traditions that are used in wedding of Biak Tribe in Papua. This tradition will be performed when the family of the groom delivers the dowry to the family of the bride.
This tradition is performed by walking while bringing various gifts such as custom plates and custom jars.
The unique thing about Ararem is that it’s performed by marching on while waving the Indonesian flag.
Mansorandak is a tradition that can be found in Biak Tribe that lives on Doreri Bay, Manokwari. This tradition is performed in order to welcome family member who just came home after long period of time.
Through this tradition, the people of Doreri express their gratitude and happiness when their family member returns home.
This tradition is also used to cleanse the family member from evil spirit that might attach to them while they’re away from home.
Those are several unique traditions that only can be found in Papua. There are still many other traditions that you might find when you visit this island. Papuan people are known for their loyalty to their traditions and culture and they will live with their traditions and will pass the traditions to their descendants.
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