Mock battles & a pig feast
I had the honor to attend one of the most spectacular ceremonies in Dani world – pig feast. The same is held for all major celebrations, weddings, births, funerals…
The whole ceremony begins with a ceremonial war between tribal men after which the whole tribe dance and sing together.
The ‘party’ continues by killing a pig with a bow and arrow, straight in the heart. It’s pretty brutal, pig is yelling like crazy and after short struggling the pig dies. Well, I can not talk about some brutality and how that is not nice when at home without any problems I enjoy crunchy roasted meat.
After pig soul went to hang out with forest spirits it’s time for ‘pig depilation’ by throwing it in the fire. Then Miss Piggy goes to surgical cutting of its body parts with home made bamboo cutters. No knives, plates, towels, tables or water. The whole procedure is done on the dusty floor covered only with banana leaves. The pig meat is then cooked on steam in some kind of stone pit (it’s actually a hole in the ground covered with leaves and hot stones).
1. Preparing the fire for the feast
2. Killing Miss Piggy
3. Miss Piggy on fire depilation
4. ‘Operation’ in progress
For all master chefs or those who feel like one, I give you a recipe that you should try (if you have a yard at home).
Pig in the ‘stone pit’
- First light up a fire on which you will put stones to heat up.
- While the stones are heated dig a hole in the ground about a meter deep.
- Cover the hole with banana leaves (if you don’t have banana leaves, you can take the one you have in your yard/garden).
- Then cover the pit with heated stones and again with a layer of leaves on which put the potatoes and other vegetables that you have at home.
- Cover again with a layer of leaves and heated stones and at the end comes the pig that you previously caught and slaughtered.
- Cook about 1,5 to 2 hours (longer if the pig is bigger). Bon Appétit!
Do not use salt, paper or any kind of spices. It is recommended that you greased pig with its blood before cooking. Do not wash any of the ingredients. Women are forbidden to eat meat. Only men and children eat meat. Women eat cooked potatoes and vegetables. I must admit that unsalted cooked pig is not so tasty, the potatoes are much better.
When the feast was ready, in separate groups, the men mostly eat the meat while the women eat the entrails, sweet potatoes and greens.
Goodbye dear friends!
After spending some time in the village with this wonderful people I found what I was looking for – traditional culture and spirit of the past frozen in time. Despite their interaction with the modern civilization and visitors from all over the world, Dani remain faithful to their traditional way of life and its preservation. I hope it will remain that way as long as it possible.