One Word About West Papua

Tanam Sasi Death Ceremony of the Marind Tribe

Tanam Sasi Death Ceremony of the Marind Tribe

Tanam Sasi Death Ceremony of the Marind Tribe

Tanam Sasi is a traditional death ceremony that developed in Merauke Regency, precisely carried out by the Marind or Marind-Anim tribe. Quoting https://id.wikipedia.org, the Marind tribe dwells in the vast plains of West Papua.

The word Anim means male, and the word Anum means female. The population of this tribe is approximately 5000- 7000 people. Sasi means a type of wood which is the main medium for a series of traditional death ceremonies. The sasi is planted for 40 days after the death of someone in the area.

The sasi will be uprooted after a thousand 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. Apparently, Sasi is not just any wood. The wood planted in the Tanam Sasi tradition certainly has meaning for the Marind tribal community of Papua.

First, Papuan wood carvings symbolize the presence of ancestral spirits. Second, it is a sign of the state of the heart for the Papuan people, such as expressing feelings of sadness and happiness. Third, it is a symbol of public trust in human, animal, plant, and other motifs. Fourth, it is a symbol of beauty which is the embodiment of the results of a work of art.

In addition to the meaning of the wood, this traditional ceremony describes a sense of sadness for the grieving family. For families, this traditional ceremony is an announcement to the community that someone has died in the village. Therefore, the essence of this traditional ceremony is a death ceremony.

In presenting the traditional Tanam Sasi ceremony, a traditional Papuan dance is staged. The dance is called the Gatsi Dance. The Gatsi dance is a common dance of the Marind tribe. The presented Gatsi dance is proof that the people of the Marind tribe are still obedient to customs and culture.

In addition to the Tanam Sasi ceremony, this dance is also performed at an Ear Piercing party. The musical accompaniment for the Gatsi dance uses a traditional Papuan musical instrument called Tifa, a musical instrument made of wood, such as a dogdog.

The drum part is made of deer or monitor lizard skin that has been processed to produce a melodious sound. This dance has a meaning and message for the Marind people to always obey the applicable customary rules, and always keep their traditions and culture growing.

The procedure for taking care of the corpse is the same as that carried out by the Asmat tribe. First, the corpse is smeared with a natural substance making the entire body of the corpse black. The position of the corpse is in a sitting position, and ready to be placed in a fireplace until the corpse has completely blackened. An additional ritual, which is usually performed at the death ceremony, is cutting the finger and ending with a typical Papuan song.

When looking at the human side, cutting finger joints is certainly very unnatural. However, for the Papuan people, this is a symbol of deep pain for the family for the death of someone. The finger joint is a symbol of the harmony of a family. The finger is cut using a traditional tool, which is a blunt and hard stone axe. Although it causes pain, this tradition is still carried out because it is a form of loyalty to the family. The majority of Papuan people are Catholic, however the traditional ceremony is still being carried out as the customary law there is still strong and must be carried out by the people who live in the area.

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