Baliem Valley Festival and local wisdom of Papua

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Enchanting Papua has its unique points for us to explore, such as the 2018 Baliem ValleyFestival. This annual festival is a war event between Dani, Lani and Yali tribes as a symbol of fertility and prosperity of the local community. (photo: IO/Paramitha Hendra)

IO – The enchantment of Papua does have its own uniqueness for us to ex­plore, from culture to abundant nat­ural wealth, as well as tribes that in­habit the interiors of Papua does not escape our attention as Archipelago Travelers. Traditional ceremonies or festivals always enliven the tourism calendar every year.

2018 Baliem Valley Festival for example, this annual festival is a war event between Dani, Lani and Yali tribes as a symbol of fertility and prosperity of the local community. A festival that is an arena for pow­er struggle between tribes and con­tinues for generations until we can enjoy with other tourists. There are at least 3,000 participants from 40 districts in Jayawijaya Regency.

We had the opportunity to see the Baliem Valley Festival directly in which there were dramatic scenarios such as the kidnapping of citizens, the killing of tribal children, or the invasion of newly opened fields. Af­ter that, the scents of revenge spread so, war was inevitable. The theme of revenge is actually positive, namely “Yogotak Hubuluk Motog Hanoro”, which means “The Hope for Tomor­row, Which Must Be Better Than Today”.

The Baliem Valley Festival aims to preserve as well as maintain a culture of ancestral heritage in Pap­ua region that has begun to erode slowly, so through this festival, the surrounding community and for­eign and local tourists can enjoy the unique local customs.

Another goal is, as a driving force for the art of local wisdom to allow it to stand out so that, it on it’s own is an entertainment for all levels of society. Even the 2018 Baliem Valley Festival is expected to improve the economic level of local residents.

In addition to this, in the festival there are also photography competi­tions with millions of rupiah prizes, Baliem Valley Cultural attractions, PIKON musical instrument skills (traditional musical instruments), stone burns, traditional dances, karapan pork, competitions to make fire in the style of the Dani, not miss­ing out on the the tradition of throw­ing Sege (spear).

For us, maybe this festival that has been running since 1989 sounds foreign. This is natural, because to reach the festival location requires a long journey. To get to the Baliem Valley, visitors must pass through the main airport of Papua Province, namely Sentani Airport which can be accessed using flight services from Jakarta, Surabaya and Mana­do. Upon arrival at Sentani Airport, tourists can continue their journey by Hercules or Twin Otter aircraft to Wamena, the Capital of Jayawijaya Regency.

But foreign tourists have known this tradition for decades. As they are always enthusiastic to see a unique tradition in the midst of modern civ­ilization. Moreover, the 2018 Baliem Festi­val can be said to be a paradise for photographers from various parts. (Paramitha Hendra)