Home » The Meaning of “Pigs” in the Socio-Cultural Perspective of Papuan People

The Meaning of “Pigs” in the Socio-Cultural Perspective of Papuan People

by Senaman
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CULTURE – Pigs are not the only animals that are bred and then become the main food source of protein for the Papuan people. More than that, pigs have a special position depending on the perspective of the different tribes that inhabit the Papua region. That can see how pigs have more value can be seen from a social and cultural point of view. Pigs are considered to be able to attach value and position to a community group. Apart from that, pigs are also often included in traditional and cultural rituals that are continuously passed down from one generation to another.

The social perspective illustrates that pigs can be a symbol of a society’s social status. The welfare and prosperity of a society can be seen from how pigs are the main menu at various community events. The exchange of pigs between neighbors also shows equal social status at the same level as being able to meet each other’s daily needs in terms of food. Pigs also have a symbol as something that can bind relationships between people. Whether it’s a friendship or brotherly relationship to a marriage relationship. The bride price that is brought when getting married is a pig because it is considered to have high value. Then, when there is a gathering event, they will cook pigs to enjoy together to celebrate something or express gratitude.

A cultural point of view judges pigs based on their tribe. The Yali tribe considers pigs to be of great value and importance. Pigs are even considered equal as children because under certain conditions, pigs will be breastfed by women from the tribe. Pigs are also used as a medium of exchange that can buy anything, even wives. The position of pigs is privileged as the only animal that is considered able to accompany them and the only animal they raise.

The Marind tribe has a tradition regarding pigs, as such they consume large amounts of it to celebrate something. The pigs eating feast of the Marind tribe is well known and even distinguished by men and women. The number of pigs consumed by the Marind tribe reaches 50 heads per day and is supported by large-scale livestock to be able to meet this supply. In fact, when a member of the Marind tribe dies, pig’s blood is dripped on the grave to show respect for the ancestors who preceded them.

Pigs are considered not only as a food ingredient that meets the protein needs of the Papuan people. Social and cultural values ​​are also attached to pigs. The differences between each tribe with different cultures also show how important and value is attached to pigs.

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