NUSADAILY.COM – For the sake of proving love to someone, the Dani people of Papua are willing to cut off their fingers. This ritual might be extreme, but according to Dani people, there is no better way to express loss than doing this dangerous ritual. The pain for them is a symbol of the heart and soul that is also torn because of loss.
As reported by the boombastis site, according to the Dani, the family is everything. So that if one family dies, it will be a great pain for those left behind. That is why they apply the tradition of Iki Palek aka cutting the finger.
Finger cutting is intended as a symbol of extreme loss. The pain is likened to a heart that suffers when someone dies. Therefore, they also seemed to have no problem carrying out these painful rituals as proof of their loyalty to the family.
However, Iki Palek is only lived by women. Usually are the mothers or the oldest women. When there is a close relative, maybe a husband, child, or sibling who dies, then the finger of the oldest woman left behind is what will be broken. So that in these communities often found mothers who lost their fingers. A broken finger indicates how many families have died. Although it is said that only women do it, men sometimes do it.
To cut the finger, they not only use sharp objects, sometimes there are also those who use teeth, aka being bitten to break up. About pain, do not ask because they clearly feel it. But, once again, this is a sign of loyalty that must be done. And they don’t feel heavy because of that.
If women prove love with a finger cut, Dani men do it by slicing the skin of the ears. The process is not much different, so when a brother dies, the men will cut off the ear skin. Usually they do this by using a kind of sharp bamboo slats.
This ritual is said to have been done since ancient times. The Dani people have remained faithful to do so even in this day and age. But, it was later discovered that the ritual of Iki Palek was rarely performed. The main cause is due to the influence of religion that spreads in remote areas of Papua. However, there are also those who say if this ritual is still sustainable until now. Especially in remote areas. (Aka)