Being the largest island in Indonesia, Papua is known as one of the archipelago’s regions that is rich in natural resources. It is because of the geographical location of West Papua, which is mostly dominated by forests. Given the natural conditions that are still very natural, many people live in the interior and have a unique culture. Some of the traditions of indigenous people in Papua, as follows.
Unique Culture Performed by Indigenous Papuans
1. Iki Palek (Cut Fingers)
This tradition seems extreme to some people. However, the people of the interior of Papua still carry out this tradition as a symbol of sadness for family members who died. The people there will cut off their fingers to keep away the calamity that causes death. Generally, this tradition is still followed by the Dani tribe in the Baliem Valley after the funeral is finished using a knife or machete.
2. Barapean or Burn Stone
Not only extreme traditions but there is also a unique tradition by the West Papua people called by Barapean. The tradition represents a symbol of gratitude and brotherhood. However, the tradition may appear at the time of the death ceremony. In other words, this tradition is one of the oldest cultures in Papua.
When doing this tradition, the people in the village will make a hole. Then, they cover it with banana leaves. On top of the leaves, you have to arrange clean and larger stones at the bottom. Then, firewood should be placed on it to cook the food. People in Papua usually cook sweet potatoes, vegetables, pork, etc.
Papuan people also have a unique tradition of tattooing. It is done by the Moi and Meyakh tribes of West Papua. The tattoo will be made with a special technique to display a beautiful motif. Tattoo ink material comes from fish bones or sago tree spines into the sap of the langsat tree or a mixture of fine charcoal. After that, the tattoo is made with a line motif and circular dots like a triangle.
4. Papuan Mummy Tradition
When you talk about mummies, surely you immediately think of Egypt. However, some Papuan tribes also have a tradition of preserving corpses as mummies. Generally, this tradition will serve by several tribes, such as the Yali, Maee, Dani, Moni, etc. The body that was mummified was not a random person, but a figure and meritorious person in their tribe.
5. Tifa Blood
Tifa is one of the musical instruments owned by the Papuan people. The skin of this musical instrument is quite extreme because it is made of lizard skin. Plus, you’ll be surprised at the material used to attach the leather to the ends of the wooden drums. To attach it, the Kamora Tribe West Papua use their blood in the thighs. They will use razor blades to make wounds on their bodies.
Overall, the traditions that exist in Papua cannot be found anywhere in Indonesia. With its abundant natural resources and unique customs, Papua always steals the attention of many people from all around the world. These fascinating and unique customs become the characteristic of Papuan.