Many Indonesian cultures are related to the ritual of the birth of a child from various regions. As well as in West Papua, there are several types of West Papua birth rituals that are still held by the community.
Although some regions do not have specific rituals, some broad celebrations also celebrate the birth of a child in West Papua.
West Papua Birth Rituals in General
In West Papua daily, most people do not hold a special ceremony to welcome the birth of children in each tribe. After childbirth and the kids enter a certain age, they hold some rituals.
In the Dani community, for example, mothers will give birth to their children in “ebe ae” or a special house for Dani women. Some tribal women will help the mother to give birth to her child.
There is no special ceremony or ritual, they will only wash the umbilical cord and placenta that have been released into the river. A few days later, the mother could return to her activities or work, using West Papua traditional clothes or normal daily clothes.
In addition, in this tribe, there is also no special ceremony to give names to children. Parents and families will only give the child a name that is considered to have good meaning.
Traditional Rituals Related to Children in West Papua
Although there is no special ceremony to welcome the birth of a child in a family, there are ceremonies that are held when the child’s age has grown or just a ceremony to express family feelings of happiness.
Some events related to children in West Papua include:
1. Stone Burning Ceremony
This ceremony is one of the celebrations that shows the gratitude of the Papuan people. Some moments that received a happy reception at this ceremony included traditional weddings, the appointment of traditional heads, the gathering of soldiers before the war, and certainly the birth.
The community will perform a cooking ritual together, which generally uses pork. But for tolerance, the community sometimes cooks beef, mutton, and chicken.
Before cooking the food, the stone will be burned until it is scorching hot, and then the food will be piled on top and wait until it is cooked.
2. Kiuturu Nandauw
Parents will usually perform this ceremony specifically for their children. Papuan children attend a series of traditional hair-cutting ceremonies or Kakarukrorbun.
Children who are five years old will cut their hair for the first time. Now, there are still many people who organize this Kakarukrorbun.
3. Ero Era Tu Ura
This ceremony ero era tu ura is an ear piercing ceremony for children aged three to five years.
The person who leads the ear piercing ceremony has the title Aebe Siewi. Close relatives and neighbors of the child will attend the event.
The child will sit on a mat and be surrounded by the invitees who are still children. After that, the ear will be pierced using a particular tool.
This ceremony aims to protect the child’s ears. This is because the Papuan people believe that the ear is one of the hearing devices that must always be guarded.
Another hope from the ero era tu ura ceremony is that children who already have ear piercings will always listen to good sounds and not listen to bad sounds.
In general, there is no special West Papua birth ritual, so the process of giving birth is carried out as usual. After the child enters a certain age, several ceremonies will be held for him.