Asmat Cultural Festival: A Biggest Annual Festival in Asmat

Asmat Cultural Festival

For those of you who are interested in tradition and culture, the land of Papua is the perfect place for you. Because it has many tribes with various cultures, there will be more things you can learn here, for example, by visiting the Asmat Cultural Festival in Asmat Regency.

As one of the most popular ethnic groups in Indonesia, it is clear that many people are interested in Asmat culture. However, at this moment, only their carvings are widely known by the public. While in fact, the Asmat people also have a variety of other cultures that are no less amazing.

You can probably watch almost all of it in this annual cultural festival of Asmat.

Enjoying the Beauty of Tobe Dance

Tobe Dance

At this festival, you will see various types of traditional dances of Papua, especially the ones that originate from Asmat.  One of the most famous is probably the Tobe Dance. Some people also know it as the Perang Dance. The word “perang” literally means “war” in English.

You can often find this dance at various cultural festivals in Papua. However, some people still did not know that Tobe Dance or Perang Dance originated from the Asmat Tribe. In ancient times, the people from Asmat would perform this dance to encourage the commanders who would go to war.

But, as time passed, the people of the Asmat tribe no longer waged war with any other tribes. So, the function of Tibe dance has already shifted for now. In the present era, the function of the Tobe Dance is to welcome important guests. Also, you can see it in the cultural festival of Asmat.

This dance movement is very festive and lively. There will be around 16 male dancers and 2 female dancers. Some musicians will add tifa, a traditional musical instrument of Papua, to accompany the dance. So, if you want to be immersed in joy from the festival, you must attend this performance.

Enjoying the Enchanting of Pesta Ulat Sagu Dance

Pesta Ulat Sagu Dance

Aside from Tobe Dance, some locals sometimes perform other typical Asmat dances. One of them is probably the Pesta Ulat Sagu Dance. However, they only perform this dance sometimes. They only perform it if the festival coincides with the sago harvest season.

Unlike other regions in Indonesia, the staple food of Papuans is sago. Therefore, the existence of sago is very important for the people of Papua. It includes members of the Asmat Tribe. Therefore, they will express their gratitude when they harvest by dancing a special dance.

The name of this dance is Pesta Ulat Sagu Dance. Sometimes, you can also see people from the Asmat tribe dancing to this dance during their own cultural festival. Mostly, the dancers are women who will paint their faces white. They made the paint from the lime in the shells of seashells.

Sometimes, they also paint on other body parts besides the face. Then, some of them also wore a crown made of cassowary feathers before performing the Pesta Ulat Sagu Dance.

Any Other Things that Exist at the Festival

asmat Festival

Apart from traditional dances, you can also see various other art and cultural performances at this festival. You can also watch various types of races and competitions, as well as see the carvings of the Asmat tribe. If you are lucky, you can persuade artists to sell their work to you at that time.

As you know, their sculptures are famous in almost all corners of the world. It is not only aesthetically beautiful, but their work also has a very high artistic value. Therefore, apart from seeing cultural performances, you can also see their handicrafts when you attend the Asmat Cultural Festival.