Slaughter of Pigs – the Kalaam Festival, Simbai

The Kalaam Festival, Simbai, Papua New Guinea

The local celebrated the morning with 40 pig slaughters lined up at the sing sing grounds. An amazing sight that wasn’t as brutal and gory as I expected but quite intense nonetheless.

A total of 24 tourists flew in (the largest number ever for the festival), witnessed this 5 day affair (all of us only stayed for 3 days). The festival also involved an initiation ritual where young boys go through a long training to manhood which culminate with the boys having their nose septum pierced with a bamboo stick and with the boys  let out from their fenced up initiation hut, the following day. They lived segregated in the initiation hut, venturing out to witness the pig slaughters as part of their initiation.

The pigs tied up in a row before consecutively killed. The locals using a blunt wooden stick ceremonially bludgeoning the pig rendering it stunned, bashing its head with an axe for the final fatal blow. A few pigs did manage to run off but unfortunately received their eventual end.

The initiated boys lined up and were walked through the series of  dead pigs as part of their rituals which I found rather bizarre. Each boy with their heavy head gear had to walk over the dead pig and kick the carcass with their feet. A much solemn serious affair for the boys who returned to their initiation hut after the pig slaughter ritual.

The pigs were later butchered and placed into a Mu Mu, a  pit layered with sweet potato, taro, various vegetables and covered with hot stones. The cooked portions then used for bride price exchanges or payments, distributed among the family.

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Kalaam Festival, Simbai, Papua New GuineaKalaam Festival, Simbai, Papua New Guinea

Kalaam Festival, Simbai, Papua New GuineaKalaam Festival, Simbai, Papua New Guinea
Kalaam Festival, Simbai, Papua New GuineaKalaam Festival, Simbai, Papua New Guinea
Kalaam Festival, Simbai, Papua New Guinea
Kalaam Festival, Simbai, Papua New GuineaKalaam Festival, Simbai, Papua New GuineaKalaam Festival, Simbai, Papua New Guinea

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2 responses to “Slaughter of Pigs – the Kalaam Festival, Simbai

  1. Wow! The pictures are amazing. My girlfriend and I are celebrating our 50th birthday this year and are off to PNG to celebrate.
    We will be there in September and want to attend the Kalam festival you have described so wonderfully. How do I arrange as an independant traveller the trip to Simbai? What tips can you give us?
    Betti Hacham and Etti Lev
    haham@netvision.net.il
    levfamily@gmail.com

    • send me an email for more info
      mail @ the t r a v e l l u s t . c o m

      book your flights ahead of time to simbai, via hagen or madang. they are mostly 6 seaters. accomodation can be arrange via the pilot. check with MAF Hagen.

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