Indonesia is a vast country. Papua Island is one of its islands. This island was declared the second-biggest island after Greenland.
In terms of history and politics, the island of Papua is divided into two sections. One of which belongs to Indonesia and the other to Papua New Guinea. Of course, they have separate governments and cultures that are comparable but not identical.
The Indonesian half of Papua is generally separated into two areas: West Papua and Papua Provinces. Aside from these distinctions, we will learn about one culture that developed in Papua, particularly West Papua. It is the era-era tu urau traditional ritual. What is it? See the following for more details:
About Papua as an Island
Despite having a population of only 2.9 million people and a population density of 9 persons per square kilometer, Papuan culture is extraordinarily diversified and has produced some of the world’s most peculiar and long-secluded cultures.
Many believe Papuans descended from New Guinea’s first inhabitants, who arrived at least 40,000 years ago.
Moreover, the deep jungles of Papua are home to a sophisticated mosaic of diverse ethnic groups. Papua alone has roughly 255 indigenous communities, including those that have remained uncontacted.
Each group has its own language, some of which are unconnected to any other language in the world. The majority of groupings are made up of only a few hundred people.
Because of this rich diversity, Papua is home to around 25% of the world’s languages. The constantly changing topography of Papua has fostered this variety. From coastal areas to highland regions, the environment has affected the way of life and evolution of multiple individuals.
So, in keeping with the promise made earlier, let us now learn about Era-era tu urau, one of the ancient rites that emerged in Papua.
The Ear Preaching Ceremony is Called Era-Era Tu Urau
Era-era tu urau is an ear-preaching ceremony for female children aged three to five years, conducted for centuries in West Papua and Papua.
The ritual is usually led and carried out by a shaman called Aebe Siewi. Like any other tradition, this special rite will also be attended by relatives and neighbors to make things as merry as possible.
So how does the ceremony take place? It is said that the child who is about to be pierced will sit on a carpet, circled by her friends or attendants. Then, the shaman will use a special tool.
The Meaning Behind Era-Era Tu Urau
Every tradition tells a different story. For era-era tu urau, this act is done as a symbol to defend the auditory organ – the hearing – from malicious things.
This ceremony also expected youngsters with pierced ears will always listen to positive sounds rather than evil ones.
Other than that, some sources also mentioned that era-era tu urau is a Waropen tribal cultural ritual of ear piercing for girls approaching maturity.
So simply put, this era-era tu urau ritual is a special tradition for girls in Papua and West Papua land. The word can be translated as “pierce the ears.”
It is meant for the ears to only hear nice things throughout the years of their lives. Apart from that, it is also a mark that the girl is now ready to marry after punching a slit in her ear.
Ritual for Young Ladies
Last, West Papua is an eastern area of Indonesia with a diverse range of cultural and natural resources – from mining resources to local cultures that are distinct and worth knowing about.
One of these is the era-era tu urau culture. It is a ritual for young ladies with their ears pierced. It is either as part of the notion to protect generations of women from hearing things they shouldn’t or as an indication that West Papuan women have reached the marriageable age.