Get to Know Afaitaneng Dance: Traditional Dance of Papua

Afaitaneng Dance

Talking about cultural heritage, the land of Papua is one of Indonesia’s regions with the most diverse culture. With a total of 255 tribes that live there, it is only natural that this should happen. For example, in terms of traditional dance, Papua has tons of it. One of them is probably the Afaitaneng Dance.

Afaitaneng is one of the traditional dances of Papua, which is still performed today. This traditional dance originates from Ambai Islands District. Based on its administrative records, this district is located in Yapen Islands Regency. For now, it is a part of Papua Province.

The Meaning Behind Afaitaneng Dance

The Meaning Behind Afaitaneng Dance

Just like most traditional dances that exist in the world, Afaitaneng also has a lot of meaning behind it. The word “afai” literally means “arrow”, while the word “taneng” literally means “ownership.” So, you can conclude that the meaning of the word “afaitaneng” is “the ownership of the arrow”.

This is definitely in line with the history of the Afaitaneng Dance. Because the emergence of this dance, in the beginning, is to welcome the victory of tribe members who return from war. Therefore, many movements show archery in this one Papuan traditional dance.

Arrow itself is one of the typical Papuan traditional weapons which is quite common. There are many tribes in the land of Papua who use arrows and bows for war. This is because, in the past, wars often happened between tribes here. But now, it is not like that anymore.

The Purpose of Afaitaneng Dance


The Purpose of Afaitaneng Dance

As previously mentioned, the Afaitaneng Dance’s purpose is to welcome the warlords. They will happily welcome their heroes especially if they come home victorious. To show their happiness, they dance together. The main event is probably the performance of the dance of Afaitaneng.

Usually, they will perform this dance all day long, from morning to evening. This is to celebrate the war victory they just got. In addition, this dance also describes their greatness and also their strength. So, it is clear that this dance is a dance that shows heroism.

However, since the war between tribes has stopped in the land of Papua, the purpose of this dance has shifted. For now, the main purpose of this dance is for entertainment and also to welcome important guests. You will often find this dance at cultural festivals, especially on Yapen Island, Papua.

The Movements of Afaitaneng Dance

The Movements of Afaitaneng Dance

In the dance of Afaitaneng, both male and female dancers participate in the performance. Then, they will wear the dress Afaitaneng Dance, which is a traditional dress from Yapen Island. In addition, they will use loincloths, beads, and some bracelet jewelry. They will also bring an arrow and a machete.

The dance begins with female dancers looking at a dead body. Then, the male dancers will enter the dance arena while carrying arrows and machetes. The movement that will be there is the archery movement by the group of male dancers.

After that, in the next part, the dancers will dance together joyfully. This is to describe happiness because they have won the war. While they perform, some musicians will accompany them with a wasp of tifa. Sometimes, there are other traditional musical instruments such as fikainotu, triton, or tibura.

Besides being accompanied by music, they will also sing traditional songs. The song title is Nimasae, which they will certainly sing with so much enthusiasm and joy.

In conclusion, Afaitaneng Dance is a traditional dance from Papua, to be precise, from Yapen Island. However, unfortunately, now the people who perform it are fewer and fewer. So, we need to preserve this cultural heritage.