Nasu Palsk: The Ceremony to Respect the Deceased

Nasu Palsk

In today’s piece, we’ll discuss one of West Papua’s sad rituals, specifically one carried on for years by the Dani tribe called Nasu Palsk. Let’s delve further and see what makes this ceremony so intriguing.

Mankind and culture are inextricably linked. Each community usually has its own distinct culture and practices that set it apart from the others. And do remember, regardless of how strange the culture or practice may appear, we should not dismiss or disparage other civilizations.

Nasu Palek of the Dani Tribe from West Papua

Nasu Palek is one of the West Papuan Dani tribe’s traditions. In Dani, “Nasu” means “ear,” and “Palek” means “to cut.” This custom is done to express compassion and grief for the deceased.

The ritual entails cutting off one’s ear to express sorrow and sympathy to the deceased. More specifically, it is a representation of tremendous sadness as well as an effort to memorialize the deceased family.

Men mainly carry out one such ritual. It is indeed a pretty devastating tradition that, as a way to mend a wound, they only utilize natural medication made from leaves.

Nasu Palek and Ikipalin

Nasu Palek and Ikipalin

It has previously been stated that men typically do Nasu Palek, but women typically perform Ikipalin. Ikipalin is the act of severing fingers.

So, how do they go about the cutting procession? Typically, the cutting operation is carried out using bamboo or knives.

A mud bath follows this. However, the ear wound is wrapped in therapeutic herbs before the mud bath.

According to the Dani tribe, sobbing is insufficient to express their anguish. The agony of chopping off a finger is thought to represent the tearing apart of the heart and soul caused by bereavement.

The Story Behind the Finger-Cutting Tradition

The finger is seen as a sign of peace, togetherness, and power. The bodily portion also represents living together as one family and the whole clan. It is known as “Wene opakima dapulik welaikarek mekehasik” in Papuan.

When the form and length of the fingers are united, they have the unity and power to relieve the weight of every task. Each finger collaborates to ensure that the hand functions properly. If you lose one of them, your unity and power will be diminished. Dani tribal people typically cut their fingers using a primitive axe or knife.

They might bind the finger for a while until the blood flow ceases. The finger is sliced just when the blood flow has ceased. Aside from sharp items, the Dani cut their fingers with their teeth. They’d bite it off. The agony is indescribable. However, this is the only thing they can do to demonstrate allegiance.

With the advancement of science and religion, this ritual is gradually being phased out, even though many preceding generations have lost all of their fingers to maintain and carry out the Dani tribe’s hereditary history.


Thus, Nasu Palsk is one of the fascinating and terrifying facts about West Papua. It may be argued that each tribe or society has its own unique manner of showing grief at the death of a relative.

somewhat dissimilar to how the Vikings were savage in the past by sacrificing females when a man or leader of the family died. Girls deemed slaves were to be burned and washed away, along with the male master’s body.

Aside from that, we must underline that West Papua is a lovely island ready to spoil you since it has an exotic diversity to discover, and one of them is Nasu Palsk.