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Burial rites: Indonesian tribe that bakes and stores dead people

What are the most terrifying burial traditions of people from Dani tribe? Why do people of Dani keep the bodies of their dead relatives at home? Read the article to learn more facts about culture of this tribe.

dead people

Even nowadays, many people have kept terrible traditions, which bring any civilized person in shock. Many wild ceremonies are connected with death. For example, in some provinces of India ritual sati – burning of the widow after husband on ritual fire – is performed. Dani tribe from Indonesia is not so bloodthirsty. Relatives of the dead people stay alive, but on funeral, they cut off fingers in memory of the dead person.

Dani, which sometimes are called Ndani, is a tribe from central uplands of the western New Guinea. Dani is one of the most known ethnic groups because of rather large number of tourists who visit the valley in which they live. The small group of the Dani living on the southern slopes of the mountain Puncak Trikora was found in the second expedition on the South of New Guinea on October 1909. They have allowed staying in their villages for several days. The first contact with western Dani took place in October 1920 during expedition on the center of New Guinea when researchers were allowed to stay in tribe farms for 6 weeks. It helped people to learn a lot of interesting facts about this Indonesian tribe.

Indonesian tribe

READ ALSO: Fulani culture: What is Sharo festival?

Dani honor the ancestors and keep their burned bodies for hundreds of years. Now this custom has practically disappeared, but old mummies are stored in tribes still in honor and respect. Burial rites were done the following way: the corpse was hanged over smoldering coals and then people dried it for several months. Then the mummy was kept in man's half of the house of relatives. Dried relics served as a link with the other world. If the everyday problem wasn't solved in usual way, people went to mummy for council. The shaman was as translator in such cases. He reported requests to dead and deciphered messages from other world. Tradition roots with cutting of fingers go to the past and are connected with the fact that people of Dani are sure that after death only physical body dies, and spirit stays alive. And if to do sacrifice, that is to cut off the top phalanx of fingers at close relatives, then he will remain among people and will patronize them. Physical pain demonstrates grief on the dead. It is interesting that only women suffer of amputation of fingers and then live with stumps. Men don’t do this terrible operation and are glad that they have they whole fingers preserved.

At first, the phalanx is hardly drawn with plait, and it is cut off in an hour. The cut-off fingertip is dried, burned and later buried in a special place. The more died relatives are in the family, the less fingers poor women have. Considering living conditions of Dani, many people die very early, therefore no wonder that almost all female population of Dani live with chopped-off fingers. You can find a lot of scary pictures of ritual in this island tribe.

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