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Papuan Honai Traditional House Continues to be Preserved

Papuan Honai Traditional House

Honai comes from two words, “Hun” which means an adult man and “Ai” which means House. Literally, Honai means the house of an adult man.

As for women, the name of their Honai is Ebeai. Ebeai also comes from a combination of two words, which are “Ebe” that means body and “Ai” which means house. Another word for Ebeai is Eweai.

For livestock. they live in different honai called Wamai, where most of Papuan livestock are pigs. The houses look similar, but as a matter of fact, the house for men are usually higher.

Hulupipi Honai is a multi-purposes honai’ that has multi functions, mostly bigger than other types of honai and can be occupied by two to three families. It   can be functioned as kitchen, farm, sleep for man and women.

‘Sele’ma Honai is type of honai is used for common customary ritual (ritual adat), it is also can be used by Dani man to stay and sleep in it. 

Wesama honai is a sacred honai indeed, it can be used only to do or talk sacred things, and this house is used only for certain people who usually do sacred things. 

Honai Village (detik photo)

Honai mostly exists in mountain areas where the livelihood of the tribes are farming like the Dani tribe.

Honai Village

Every Honai and Ebeai has the function to educate the teenagers in becoming adults. For female teenagers, the mothers will prepare and teach their daughters about the things they need to know as a woman, what they will face and should do when they are about to marry and have their own children.

While for the little boys, they only live in Ebeai for a short-term. When they grow up as teenagers, they will no longer stay in Ebeai, instead they will live in Honai with the adult men. The adult men will teach the young boys how to survive, and be a man by taking responsibilities for the life of his community.

In conclusion, for the Papuan people, these small houses which they call Honai, are not only ordinary houses, but it is an excellent place for teaching and educating the next generation of the tribe about their heritage, life, responsibilities and mutual respect between human and nature.

Papuan Honai Traditional House

article source: Papuanews

pictures: Lamhot Aritonang – source detikNews


A former Dutch colony, West Papua has formally returned to Indonesia in 1969.

The undisputed vote of about 1,025 representative tribal leaders has chosen to join Indonesia.

The United Nations endorsed the result of the plebiscite and the world recognized West Papua as part Indonesia.

West Papuan people have elected the leaders of Papua and West Papua provinces.

The election in West Papua has strengthened the legality of the region as a province of Indonesia.

Since 2007, Abdurrahman Wahid administration changed the name from Irian Jaya to Papua.

Papua gained a “Special Autonomy” status, a political compromise between Papuans and the central government.

In 2001, politicians in Jakarta agreed to proceed with the implementation of the Special Autonomy.

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This Blog has gone through many obstacles and attacks from violent Free West Papua separatist supporters and ultra nationalist Indonesian since 2007. However, it has remained throughout a time devouring thoughts of how to bring peace to Papua and West Papua provinces of Indonesia.

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