Papua, Traditional Wedding

Written by on July 29, 2012 in Papua Festivals with 0 Comments

Papua, Traditional Wedding

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The people inhabit along the shore line of North West Papua were formerly resided mangrove areas and by Dutch colony they were moved to the shore in 1920 to use dry land for better health and easier mobilization. Around 1930 Christianity was introduced by missionaries from Dutch and people from Ambon, especially the teachers working there. Until today the people in those villages use the same clan name just like those in Ambon with the name ” fam ” which is probably originated from familie ( family ). When they were still living on the wet and damp land or higher places at the barren land, it was recorded that they also introduces such groups like clan called auwet. This type of kinship group had special skill respectively, for example auwet Bagre and Maban had the war skill, auwet Kibuan and Abowai inhabit highland had skill of farming and others. Each auwet is a patrilineal group who control the land, and after relocation in 1920 the system of auwet met fam and until today the terminology of fam is used.

Marriage tradition of the people living on north coast of west Papua is not facing the cost of wedding party as modern time but such an expensive cost of marriage dowry. Indonesian ethnographists recorded the kind of this dowry consist of a ” krae ” a chain of shells with big round shell as decor, a necklace composed in chain of dog teeth, belt from jewelry, wood skin rope, kitchen tools, canned food and often with cash as addition. Due to the expensive dowry, usually a man will get these items from his relatives, especially from his mother’s brothers, yet still will need long time to complete the items until it can be delivered to his parents in law. It was often this dowry can only be realized after marriage has been many years.

When marriage dowry has been collected,it will be handed over to his parent in law with special wedding feast or wedding ceremony. After the introduction of Christianity, the wedding ceremony has also been conducted in the church, yet the priest only visit the area around every 2 or 3 years. This type of wedding ceremony by religion can only be conducted after a couple has been physically married for years. According to the record of the church the first wedding was conducted by the church in 1937 when around 23 couples were religiously legalized marriage. Some of them even had been married for 20 years. Totally different, that traditional marriage cost to much, but by religious marriage wedding is no cost.

After the marriage, most of the couples live with the family of husband, due to expensive cost to build a house, beside the kinship system is patrilineal. In the past before Christian was not known, men did poliginy, the Christian forbidden them doing this and to strict with monogamy. The status of woman is not lower then a man, they do the same activities outside the house although often working together or doing the same activities together.

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