Mansorandak is a tradition of the Biak tribe of Teluk Doreri, Mokowari, West Papua, to welcome families who have just returned from wanderings a long ago.
This tradition is also known as “injak piring” ritual. In this traditional ceremony, the people being greeted symbolically place their feet on an antique Chinese porcelain plate as a welcoming gesture.
The Meaning of Mansorandak Tradition
Mansorandak comes from the arrangement of three words in Biak. “Man” means man or person, “so” from the word beso which means to participate, and “randak” means beginner or the first time. Therefore, Mansorandak means the first or first person to participate in the Biak tradition.
Mansorandak tradition is interpreted as expressing gratitude for the person’s return or return safely. This tradition is also believed to ward off evil spirits accompanying them on long journeys. It should be purified through the Mansolandak ritual.
This ceremony is not only performed for Biak family members returning from wander. However, Mansorandak is also a ceremony to welcome first-time guests and dignitaries.
For certain reasons, it is considered an appropriate form of greeting and respect in the customs or culture of the people living in Biak. The places visited are not only places outside Papua, but also places within Papuan territory, such as Jayapura.
Mansorandak as a Family Welcoming Tradition
In this procession, there is a wonggor crocodile replica made of white sand. Apart from crocodiles, sand shaped like a turtle or Tuturuga and 9 large plates were also prepared.
The Mansorandak tradition begins with a procession of flower baths of various kinds on a traditional plate. Plates are lined up at the entrance of the house. These nine large plates represent the nine clans of the Doreri tribe.
Afterward, the nomad and his extended family enter a special room. They have to turn right 9 times around the plate that extends from the crocodile to the turtle.
After completing the first round, the traditional elders who run the Mansorandak event wash their feet and faces. This foot-washing procession is performed every round until the ninth round.
The meaning of washing is to purify the mind of the person who is received. After washing, the person places their foot on the plate as a sign of being re-accepted into the community.
The procession ends with stamping a replica crocodile that symbolizes the challenges, sufferings, and trials accompanying the nomadic lifestyle. The crocodile symbolizes the passing of the cape and the vast sea barrier by the newly arrived humans, the crocodile being the symbol of the king of the sea. Then, they walk towards the turtle and step on it until it is crushed.
This parade ends with a meal together. Families prepare the food they hang on ropes, such as ketupat, sugar cane, bananas, and betel nuts.
A Tradition of Welcoming Guests
The Mansorandak ritual is also celebrated at important events, such as the reception of state guests coming to Manokwari. Guests are greeted in groups, and one of the traditional leaders presents flowers to the guests. After that, the guests are accompanied by dances.
When using maritime transport, the Mansorandak ceremony is prepared at seaports and by land and air. If the pick-up is still a child, the child is immediately carried by his/her uncle in a prepared sling. This injak piring tradition is still symbolically performed by asking guests to step on traditional plates as a sign of appreciation to the Manokwari people for their visitors.
It should be noted that the Mansorandak ritual was a ritual that existed before Christianity was established in Biak. This ritual is passed down from generation to generation until it becomes one of Biak’s cultural identities.