Although Indonesian Papua tribes are now increasingly modernised, the Dani tribe continues to adhere to many of their cultural traditions and customs. These include participating in the Baliem Valley Cultural Festival in August where they wear traditional dress, hunt wild boar and act out battles with neighbouring tribes.
There are also more extreme customs that are observed. Did you know that it is a custom of elderly people (both men and women) to remove parts of the fingers after a spouse or close loved one has died? Although rare, some elderly members continue to perform this act of mourning.
The act of cutting off one's fingers is meant to satisfy ancestral ghosts.
By Rebecca Latimer