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Celebrating Life and Death in a Mekeo Village

by Marie Kauna – EMTV Online, Port Moresby

Over two fine days on the 26th and 27th of May, Inauaia village in the Mekeo area of Central Province, witnessed one of its chief’s initiation. The village clan is Inauaisakoko.

Like other cultural practices, chief initiations and funeral feasts are significant cultural practices in Mekeo.

Over those two days, the clan witnessed its young clan member, Victor Evi Evi, initiated as Chief. The period also saw a funeral feast being staged.

Victor had inherited his chiefly rights from his late father.

In this Mekeo tradition, fathers abdicate their chieftaincy to their sons in a public display via a feast.

In Evi Evi’s case, other chiefs both from the village and nearby villages, sorcery leaders, warriors, warlords and members of the community gathered to witness Victor’s initiation as his father has passed away.

Evi Evi’s responsibilities as a chief includes;

  • Ensuring peace is maintained among clan members
  • Partaking in the decision-making process both for the clan and join in with other chiefs of the village

The next day, the clan also witnessed its funeral feast. Funeral feasts are considered a burden for a family whose members whom have passed away.

Only when this feast takes place, the burden is taken off from their list of cultural burdens.

This feast is a way of freeing the families of the deceased from their mourning. They will leave behind a life of restriction on their dietary and clothing choices and reintegrate into normative society.

There were more than 10 deaths in the clan that were set ‘free’.

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