4 Most Unique Traditions in West Papua Like No Others

Most Unique Traditions in West Papua Like No Others - Unique Tradition in West Papua

Although West Papua is famous for its abundance of natural wonders—including waterfalls, rain forests, diving spots, and beaches—the region has much more to offer. In fact, the wonderful province is about much more than that! Below are an array of other most unique traditions in West Papua.

The people of West Papua use these rituals to commemorate important cultural moments. Plus, you are sure to have a great time while discovering the fascinating traditions of the local people.

1. Masangkede

Masangkede - Unique Tradition in West Papua

The Moi Tribe holds Masangkede, a traditional way of life, in high regard. Masangkede is a traditional fire-making ceremony whereby bamboo, stone, and nipa tree fibers (Nypa fruticans) are used to create a blaze. Surprisingly, modern-day Moi still adheres to these customs.

The nipa tree’s fibers need to be dried so that they may be used to start a fire. The Moi people call it “ligi.” On the other hand, the bamboo utilized is a rare kind of well-kept secret among the locals. Masangkede also needs bricks to clamp dry nipa fibers.

Then, the Moi people, especially the women in the village, rub them on dry bamboo sticks to make splashes. Masangkede is practical for home heating, cooking, and yard waste disposal.

2. Tumbuk Tanah Dance

Tumbuk Tanah Dance

Arfak people are known for their distinctive culture and dance style known as Tumbuk Tanah. They perform the dance to celebrate significant occasions: to enliven a wedding, to welcome foreign visitors, or to commemorate a military victory.

As they move, the dancers belt out songs like “diun,” “nihet duwei,” and “isiap.” They jumped about on the floor, hands in the air, singing the tunes. To convey the meaning behind performing the dance, the performers themselves penned the poetry of nihet duwei and isap.

Meanwhile, only the elderly have the authorization to sing diun.

3. Bakar Batu

Bakar Batu - Unique Tradition in West Papua

Bakar Batu is a unique tradition in Indonesia. It is a cooking ritual in which all members of the community take part in it. The goals might range from simply showing appreciation to coronating new tribe leaders or rallying the troops for an upcoming conflict.

Occasionally, stones are heated to the point where they are red hot. Then, they are stacked on top of the meal to be grilled.

The members of the tribe generally serve pork as the main dish. People would cook the pork they had shot and slaughtered before. Having the pig perish instantly before the event is a good omen and vice versa. The sense of unity and closeness this custom fosters are invaluable to any group.

4. Mansorandak


Mansorandak is a unique Papua culture. Participants must tread on a plate as part of the celebration marking the departure of nomads. In particular, the Biak people adopt this custom as a way to pray for the well-being of their loved ones on their journey away from home.

The first step in Mansorandak is to soak a collection of flowers in a ceremonial dish. Then, the nomad follows the family into a separate room. They must make nine complete circuits around the nine plates.

The ritual culminates with the nomad walking on a crocodile statue, representing the hardships and difficulties the nomads will face in their future. Over time, Mansorandak became simpler, but of course, it was still carried out by the local people solemnly.

Final Words

That is the list of some of the unique traditions in West Papua. They range from the basic to the elaborate, as well as the classic to the contemporary. Even though they seem quirky initially, their origins in the ancient West Papuan culture are clear and make them well worth spreading.