Indonesia Tribes

The women of this Indonesian tribe amputate their fingers when a relative dies; Know more

Last update: August 20, 2022, 2:11 PM HST

Ikipalin is a ritual where upon the death of a beloved member of a family, the women of the house must cut off the upper part of their finger.

The Dani tribe living in the province of Jayawijaya continue to practice this particular custom.

There are many traditions and cultural practices in the world that we ignore. This rings true, especially for several tribes found across the world. Some of the rituals followed by these tribal people are so bizarre that you will wonder “why?” Such a strange tradition which is still followed in parts of Indonesia by the Dani tribe requires women to cut off their fingers when a family member dies.

Although the Indonesian government has banned the practice in the archipelago, the Dani tribe living in the province of Jayawijaya continue to practice this particular custom, known as Ikipalin.

Ikipalin is a ritual where upon the death of a beloved member of a family, the women of the house must cut off the upper part of their finger. It is believed that once the amputation is completed, peace will be granted to the souls of their ancestors.

The practice is performed by securely tying the woman’s finger with a rope to prevent blood circulation. After a while, an ax is used to chop it down. After the procedure is completed, the fingertips are burned to stop the bleeding. The Dani tribe believes that amputating a finger will help reduce the pain caused by the death of a family member.

The government has taken many strict measures to ban this painful practice. There were several protests with people condemning this horrible tradition and questioning why such painful customs were only imposed on women.

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