Many Traditional Practices Realized as Economic Burdens

While Traditional Practices are important in any culture in Papua New Guinea, other practices have become economic burdens, especially to those who finance these special occasions.

One such practice is the PNG traditional way of removing Haus Krai after the death of a loved one, or a prominent figure in the community.

However, many traditional practices are obligations that must be conducted to preserve culture against the backdrop of rising economic costs.

Bridgette Komatep was in Iyebi village in the Imbongu District of Southern Highlands Province, and witnessed a similar occasion.

The occasion marked the feast of Late Timon Embiolu, a long serving Public Servant who in one way or another had impacted the lives of the people at all levels.

Minister for Works and Member for Imbongu, Francis Awesa, also attended the occasion. It was the biggest gathering ever where over 3,000 people came to partake in the traditional ceremony. There were over 100 pigs slaughtered for the occasion.

During the Occasion, there is a pig distribution ceremony where the pig meat and the rest of the food will be distributed to those who have contributed during the funeral.

This traditional practice in this part of the Highlands Region has become an economic burden for the organizers, but it’s something that is being done to maintain traditions that were handed down from past generations. The big-man culture is also real as the more pigs one slaughters and monies contributed, automatically elevates one’s status in the society. Alex, the eldest son of the deceased highlighted this point at the gathering.

Alex also shared lessons learnt from his father and one character that stands out most is loyalty in all walks of life.

The Late Mr Embiolu was also described as a humble man and well–respected by those who knew him and worked closely with him.

Despite the Economic Downside, the traditional feast was made to honour the life of Mr Embiolu and his contributions to the people of Imbongu, Mendi and parts of Southern Highlands Province. The occasion ended with the official opening of the newly constructed grave shelter for Mr Embiolu, and more food was distributed at the end of the day.

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