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01 January 2019


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Belated Happy New Year Bob and to all my friends in Australia and readers of PNG Attitude. Let's make 2019 another year of strong fighting against corruption and its perpetrators in PNG.

The famous Simbu pig kill 'bugla inngu' was a celebration of fertility rites when the people saw they had plenty of pigs, more gardens, population growth, peace and harmony and they were mobilised to take part in the ceremony.

The coming event was announced by initiated men blowing sacred bamboo flutes mostly at night.

Singing and dancing was one part of the celebration but there was more to it. The Simbu sun cult, referred to as Aril, was depicted by a wig worn by dancers who had gone through certain rituals.

The display of the Gerua board with different designs worn during the dancing by selected people was a similar ancestral veneration.

Towards the final event, there was a mok type of dance mobilised by the whole tribe. It was called bugla tabuno in Kuman, the secret dance of the fern leaves.

The dancers circled around the ceremonial ground beating their kundus and holding spears in an orderly manner towards the bolum shrine, built the night before the final dance and pig kill.

The bolum shine was decorated with slaughtered pigs and the best food. Women would sit around with kaukau leaves on their head as an offering to their ancestors.

The bolum shrine became the sacrificial object and the most secret and the greatest moment of the Simbu people.

The bolum post was cut from a selected tree called mondo and only men with the right magical spells or rites could plant the posts.

With the arrival of the early missionaries, the pig kill was not abolished but culturation took place. Inside the bolum shrine a crucifix was placed instead and magical spells and other rituals were not used.

On the final day of pig slaughtering the pigs were killed and lined up towards the rising sun as an offering to Neno Ande Yagle meaning 'Sun, our father'.

Our ancestors had a concept of a creator but it was remote and isolated until Christianity revealed it to them as God the father, and people accepted Christianity without hesitation.

Prayers and the use of holy water were also used. A priest or church leader was normally invited to bless the pig killing.

The last time I witnessed a pig killing ceremony was in 1973 when I was a small kid. I regret that it's now all gone.

I wrote a paper on religious anthropology concerning bolum shrine many years ago but I don't have a copy.

G'day and happy new year, Francis - Mathias too.

About 1954 I think it was, I came across a large pig-kill ceremony in the Upper Asaro. I counted 200 pigs in one line. There was another line as big.

I'm sending a photo to KJ which he can put on the Attitude blog I hope.

Thanks Bob, great pic. I've added it to the story - KJ

Francis, you have written of a very important culture of our people, a culminating event all Chimbus lived for. It happened about every 5 years, a period required for piglet to mature into an adult pig.
Sadly today national election of leaders every five years had replaced this splendid custom of our people. People now raise pigs and make gardens to support their candidates in the election. Our people make so much trash about this. This comes together with a new election phenomena in Chimbu called "nere tere" which simply means 'eat and give' - I eat from you and I give you my vote.
I touched a lot Bolma Ogu, nere tere and other cultures of our people in our recently published history book, My Chimbu.

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