Wor K’bor: The Tradition of Circumcision for Boys

wor k'bor

Circumcision is a tradition that has existed since ancient times, both because of cultural and religious influences. As a cultural tradition, one of the unique traditions of circumcision in Indonesia is in the Papua area called wor k’bor.

This typical culture of the Biak tribe is one part of Wor or traditional ceremonies related to many aspects of human life. If you are curious about wor k’bor meaning, you can see the explanation below.

What is Wor K’bor?

One of the Indonesian heritage and traditions consists of two words, “Wor” and “K’bor.

The word “Wor” has a broad meaning but is related to the religious aspects of the life of the Biak people. For example, traditional dances, songs, dowry payments, meals, etc.

However, as a traditional ceremony, “Wor” has a symbolic meaning regarding cultural values ​​regulating human life with God. It also relates to the nature in which they live their lives. Wor can also mean a celebration or a party to West Papua people.

For the discussion in this article, it is more appropriate to use the meaning of Wor as a party for the Biak Tribe community.

Next up is K’bor, which comes from two words. The first is “Kuk” which means to pierce, and the second is “Bori” on top of something.

If the two syllables are combined, the meaning is to pierce or slice the top of something. In the cultural context of the Biak Tribe, the meaning of something is the upper part of the male genitalia or genitals.

The process of taking the tip of the male genitalia or penis using a bamboo stick that has been shaped as thin as possible. The men who will enter the age of puberty will carry out this tradition.

Every male aged 15 to 17 years and has lived for six months in Rum Sam, or Biak’s bachelor house, will perform a wor k’bor ceremony as a sign that they will enter adulthood.

This wor k’bor party usually lasts for months, especially when the northeast wind is calm, so the catch of fish in the sea will be large. When there is a lot of food is the right moment to organize an event.

However, this ceremony is rarely performed nowadays, while ordinary parties or people’s parties are still sustainable. During the party, there will be a fire walking ceremony, which involves walking on hot stones.

After the circumcision process, for nine days, the children will be placed in a “cage” called a komboi. The combo will be hung from a pole and covered with a mat so that women and children cannot see them.

Sometimes the brothers would draw blood from the circumcision wound, mix it with food, and eat it.

Other Types of Wors

Wor is a sacred ceremony because it can protect someone. Wor and is part of life cycle rites, naming ceremonies that follow the stages of human development from birth to death.

Some types of Wor, besides wor k’bor are:

  1. Wor Fasfesmandwampur, is a bond that is useful for holding the lower abdomen of pregnant women. So this Wor will be done when the child is still in the womb.
  2. Wor Fasasnai, is when the family will show the baby to nature so that the rulers of nature know the baby.
  3. Wor Anmam, which is feeding the baby with food other than the mother’s milk for the first time.
  4. Wor Famarmar and Sraikir Kneram, is a ceremony to put on clothes for the first time for boys and make holes in girls’ ears.
  5. Wor Papaf (Weaning) is when the mother does not give breast milk anymore because the child can feed himself.
  6. Wor Kapanaknik, children’s haircut ceremony.

Apart from the six Wors, other Wors demand a process until someone’s death.


Wor k’bor performed by the Biak Tribe is one of the cultures that its positive medical effects can explain. Unfortunately, this ceremony is only held sometimes.