Skip to content

The 8 Most Unique and Interesting Papuan Cultures and Traditions

It is not strange that Indonesia is rich in culture and language, which spreads from the tip of Sabang to the tip of Merauke, from the west of Indonesia to the east of Indonesia. Nevertheless, different but still one, One Indonesia.

It can be said that Indonesia is a country that has millions of cultures. The culture in each region is different, from language, clothing, to traditional houses. One area that has a lot of culture is Papua. In addition to having abundant natural resources, Papua is also known as an area that has the largest number of ethnic groups in Indonesia.

Each tribe in Papua has a different culture and tradition. The traditions that exist in the Papuan tribe also have a deep meaning in every ceremony. And usually always symbolizes everything related to nature. Curious about the unique traditions that Papua has? Come on, take a look at the following review.

  1. Stone Burning Tradition
Stone Burning Tradition
Stone Burning Tradition (photo: sumber:

The Bakar Batu tradition is an important tradition for all indigenous Papuans. The Bakar Batu tradition is meaningful as a form of gratitude and a gathering place between residents of the village. The Bakar Batu event is usually held at the time of birth, customary marriage, coronation of tribal chiefs, and gathering of war soldiers.

The Bakar Batu tradition is usually carried out by indigenous Papuan tribes who live in the interior, such as in the Baliem Valley, Panaiai, Nabire, Bintang Mountains, and others. The name of this traditional party varies in each region. In the Paniai tribe, the Bakar Batu tradition is called Gapiia, in Wamena it is called Kit Oba Isogoa, while in Jayawijaya it is called Barapen.

It is called the Bakar Batu tradition because the stone is really burned until it is hot. The function of the hot stone is to cook meat, sweet potatoes, and vegetables on banana leaves which will be eaten by all residents at the ongoing event.

Food is deliberately cooked this way so that all dishes can be cooked at the same time and cooked at the same time. Looks very fun and very familiar, huh?

  1. Finger Cut Tradition
Finger Cut Tradition
Finger Cut Tradition (photo: sumber:

The finger-cutting tradition is a tradition carried out by the Dani tribe in Papua. The Dani tribe is a tribe that inhabits the Baliem Valley. The tradition of cutting fingers in the Dani tribe has existed since ancient times and is still carried out today. The finger-cutting tradition symbolizes harmony, unity, and strength that comes from within a human being or within a family.

Family is the most valuable pedestal possessed by a human being, fingers are believed to symbolize the existence and function of a family itself. So the tradition of cutting is done when someone loses a family member or relative such as husband, wife, children, brothers, and sisters forever.

In the Dani tribe, the sadness and sorrow due to the misfortune of losing a family member is not only appreciated by crying, but also cutting a finger.

The Dani believe that cutting a finger is a symbol of the sadness and pain of losing a family member. The tradition of finger cutting is also considered as a way to prevent the reoccurrence of the calamity that claimed the life of a bereaved family member.

  1. Ararem Tradition (Biak Tribe)
Ararem Tradition Biak Tribe (photo: sumber:

Ararem is a typical tradition of the Biak tribe, this tradition is usually held at weddings. Ararem is the procession of the groom’s extended family from the bride and groom who sends the prospective husband along with a dowry for the prospective bride.

The delivery of the dowry is carried out on foot from the groom’s residence to the bride’s residence, each family member holding the dowry in the form of traditional plates, jars, and so on.

Uniquely, the procession of the prospective groom, in addition to bringing the wedding gifts, they also brought the red and white flag that was flying with them.

It is not clear why the red and white flag was used during the procession. Maybe the red and white flag is used to show that they are Indonesian people, and Ararem is Indonesian culture.

  1. Tattoo Tradition
Tattoo Tradition (photo: sumber:

The tattoo tradition is carried out by the Moi tribe or Malamoi tribe. Tattoos are a tradition of decorating oneself by making a distinctive patterned tattoo on the body. The distinctive motif on the Moi tribal tattoo was introduced by an immigrant who works as an Austrenesian speaker from Asia who came to the Sorong region in the Neolithic era.

The tattoo motifs used by the Moi tribe are geometric or some kind of circular lines complemented by neatly lined conical or tridiagonal triangle points. Tattoos are made by dipping sago tree spines or fish bones in a mixture of fine charcoal called Yak Kibi, and also Loum or tree sap.

Then, the spines or fish bones are used to make tattoos on body parts, such as the back, chest, calves, hips, and eyelids. The tattoo design that will be made is adjusted to the shape of the body part to be tattooed. Unfortunately, this tradition has begun to fade, the youth of the Moi tribe are no longer tattooing themselves.

  1. Tradition of Cultivating Sasi (Tanam Sasi)
Tanam Sasi
Tanam Sasi Ceremony (photo: Cakrawala IDE)

The Tanam Sasi tradition is one of the traditions carried out by people living in eastern Indonesia, such as Maluku and Papua. Sasi is a tradition that is usually carried out to protect natural resources. Sasi is also known as a way of processing natural resources in the coastal villages of Papua.

Until now, the Tanam Sasi ceremony is still often carried out. If you go to the east, you can see some trees marked with the words “Sasi” which means you are not allowed to take anything in the area around the words “Sasi”.

Sasi itself is a conservation effort in order to maintain the quality, population of natural resources, both animal and vegetable in the form of a prohibition on taking the results of the natural resources themselves. Sasi is also used as an effort to maintain good manners between humans and the natural surroundings.

Additional notes from wikipedia:

Tanam Sasi is a traditional death ceremony that developed in Merauke Regency, precisely carried out by the Marind or Marind-Anim tribe. The Marind tribe is located in the vast plains of West Papua. The word Anim means male, and the word anum means female. The population is 5000-7000 people. Sasi has the meaning of a type of wood which is the main medium of a series of traditional ceremonies of death. The sasi is planted for forty days after the death of someone in the area. The sasi will be revoked after 1,000 days of planting. Sasi planting is always carried out by the Marind tribe, and has an impact on the results of typical Papuan wood carvings which have become famous to foreign countries. (link: Tanam Sasi)

  1. The Tradition of Tifa Making Using Blood
Tifa Making using Blood
Tifa Making using Blood (photo:

Tifa is a musical instrument typical of Eastern Indonesia, Papua and Maluku. Tifa is shaped like a drum, made of wood with a hole in the middle and also covered with animal skin. Tifa has several types and forms, including Tifa Jekir, Tifa Basic, Tifa Cut, and Tifa Bas.

In its manufacture, usually use glue to glue several parts. However, in Papua, there is a tradition of making Tifa using human blood. The blood acts as glue. By using blood, Tifa is believed to be stronger and more durable.

  1. Baliem Valley Festival Traditions
Baliem Festival (photo: Indonesia Tourism)

The Baliem Valley Festival is a tradition held by the tribes living around the Baleim valley such as the Dani tribe, Yali tribe, and Lani tribe. The Baliem Valley Festival was originally an inter-tribal war event in Baliem, as a symbol of fertility and prosperity. This festival has been held for generations.

Even though it is a power struggle between tribes, the Baliem valley festival is still safe for tourists to enjoy. Even today, the Baliem valley has become one of the tourist destinations in Papua. In addition to war, in this festival there is also a dance.

The Baliem Valley Festival is held every August. The Baliem Valley Festival was first held in 1989, and is still being held today. The Baliem Valley Festival is held for 3 consecutive days.

  1. The Mansorandak Tradition
The Mansorandak Tradition (photo: westpapuaupdate)

The Masorandak tradition is a typical tradition of the Biak tribe in Doreri bay, Manokwari, West Papua. The Mansorandak tradition is usually held when a family member returns home from an overseas land. This tradition itself is a form of gratitude for the return of relatives in good health and safe from overseas and reunited with family.

Mansorandak is also known as the plate stamping tradition. Family members who have just returned from overseas are bathed in flower water which is stored in a large traditional plate after being greeted by the family. This bath aims to remove evil spirits that may have attached to the body of the nomad from the previous place.

After that, the nomad was brought into a special room along with all members of his extended family. In this room, the nomad must circle 9 traditional plates 9 times. The number nine represents the number of the Doreri clan in Manokwari.

Next, the nomads are required to step on a crocodile made from the ground on a plate. The crocodile is symbolized as the challenges and trials that will accompany the journey of the nomad’s life. When you step on it, you are believed to be able to get through all the challenges and trials in life.

This is information about traditional traditions in Papua from Keluyuran. Indonesia is rich in local wisdom culture and traditions that spread from Sabang to Merauke. If you come to the land of Papua, it never hurts to enjoy the culture and beauty of the beautiful beaches in Papua. Keep preserving Indonesian culture, okay?

Source: Keluyuran

Read also: Papuan Dances

West Papua View All

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.

10 thoughts on “The 8 Most Unique and Interesting Papuan Cultures and Traditions Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: