west papua music – On the plateau, in the center of Papua mountains, just about1,600 meters above sea level, surrounded by sheer green forest walls, lies the beautiful Baliem Valley; home to the Dani Tribe.
Dani is one of the tribes inhabiting the Baliem Valley, precisely Jayawijaya Regency and part of Puncak Jaya Regency. Their way of living is still essentially primitive. They do not use clothes, but koteka (male genital cover) for men and straw skirts for women.
Every year, the Papuans and the Indonesian Government rejoice in celebrating the Baliem Valley Festival to show the beauty and uniqueness of the Dani culture, the Lani Tribe, and the Yani Tribe who reside the Baliem Valley.
The Baliem Valley Culture Festival 2018 visited by around 12,000 domestic tourists and 1,380 foreign tourists, mainly from East Asia, Australia, and Europe. The Jayawijaya ranges surround the Baliem Valley which is also known as the Grand Baliem Valley.
The festival that has been taking place annually since 1989 is also popular in the international scene. Travel photographers love this event. The magnificent view of the Baliem Valley and the performances of festive tribal warfare carried out by indigenous Papuan tribes, become an attraction. Tourists are always expecting the celebration every year.
The Baliem Valley Festival is an inter-tribal war event. War is carried out as a symbol of fertility and prosperity. The soldiers of the pride of these tribes will fight using their full strength.
In addition to te tribal dances, there are performances of customary music using Pikon, pig race, theatrical stage, archery and spear-throwing competitions, Sikoko and hPuradaan games, traditional cooking demonstrations, and tribal handicraft exhibitions.
Here are six surprising things you will find in the Dani Tribe and the Baliem Valley Festival:
1. War Dance
The culmination of the Baliem Valley Festival is the War Dance involving 1,000 dancers from three major tribes in the highlands of Wamena and the Baliem Valley. These tribes are namely the Dani, Lani, and Yali. The 1,000 dancers divided into 26 groups and will perform the famous War Dance. Each group consisted of 30 to 50 dancers.
Interestingly, this war simulation enlivened with traditional Pikon musical instruments. Pikon is a musical instrument made of wood bark. A unique sound will be released when the Pikon was blown.
2. Natural Scenery
west papua music – The Baliem Valley is 72 kilometers in length and 15-31 kilometers in width. Baliem River, which originates from the northern side of Trikora mountain, divides the Grand Valley. The river meanders down and then flows south into a giant muddy creek that slowly empties into the Arafura Sea.
3. Meet a Mummy or Two
Besides enjoying beautiful landscapes in Papua, tourists can also see mummies. There are three mummies in the Kurulu District, three more mummies in Assologaima District, and one mummy in Kurima District.
These mummies are not the bodies of ordinary people from the Dani tribe, the majority tribe in Wamena or Jayawijaya Regency and its surroundings. They were respected tribal chiefs and warlords and became role models in their time. Preservation of traditional mummies can last up to hundreds of years.
4. The Tradition to Cut Fingers
This finger-cutting tradition called ikipalin does sound horrifying. Not without reason, the Dani do this tradition to express sadness when losing a member of the family. For residents of the Baliem Valley, the fingers of the hand symbolize harmony in the humanity.
5. White Sandy Valley
We usually found white sand on the beach. However, Baliem Valley which located far off the coast also has white sand. The texture of the sand is similar to the one we found on the beach. That said, the white sand of the Baliem Valley came from what once a lake that has become a land.
6. Pesta Bakar Batu
west papua music – Pesta Bakar Batu or stone grilling party is a celebration of the Dani tribe when they are welcoming birth, marriage, thanksgiving, and euphoria after the war. In this celebration, the fire came from two wooden sticks. The spark then used to “burn” neatly arranged stones. At the peak of the festival, yams and pigs are placed on coals to cook so they can eat together.
west papua music – Indonesia is known for its diverse ethnics and cultural traditions. Each tribe has their unique rituals and events. From Sabang to Merauke, 1,340 tribes in Indonesia will amaze you with the diversity of this country. So, are you ready to visit the Dani Tribe in Papua?