Topics: Religion, Ritual, Ceremony Pages: 3 (997 words) Published: May 15, 2013
From the last chapter of the book Grand Valley Dani: The Peaceful Warriors, Heider described the characteristics and features of the religious beliefs as well as the rituals practiced by the Dani of Papua New guinea. Through his observations, it was made apparent that religion was not the significant feature that represents the Dani and its culture. Although it exists, the rituals were the main factors that build the cultural aspects of these people. Religion in the Dani culture revolves around the belief of Animism and animatism. Dani rituals on the other hand, mainly incorporate with the ghost of their recent dead. The Dani people take importance in placating the restless souls of their former members, thus many of their rituals and practices are done for the sake of calming these spirits. However, beyond the appeasement of the ghosts, there are also other rituals that are done for the purpose of developing and regulating the social and economic life of the Dani. Weddings, political election and initiations are the on-going rituals that the Dani practices during the Great pig feast. This paper will explain and describe the characteristics of the beliefs and rituals that are celebrated and practiced by Grand Valley Dani. In terms of religion, the Dani people did not have a certain deity that they are committed to in worship. However, the Dani greatly believes that there is a kind of spiritual power that manifest through many natural objects that can either be advancement or a threat to their community if not handled properly. This spiritual phenomenon is called Wusa; it describes the religious form of animatism. (Heider, 1996, p. 124) Correspondingly, the Dani community also believed that they are representations of animals; more specifically, birds. There is a myth in the Dani culture that foretells the story of the snake and the birds. The birds are associated with man because they both mourn for the dead. (Heider, 1996, pp. 125-126) In the story, there was...
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